Rising demand for sustainable cosmetics spurs biodegradability testing protocol research

Rising demand for sustainable cosmetics spurs biodegradability testing protocol research

As market research firm Statista recently reported, “According to a survey conducted in 2023, 45 percent of US consumers stated that one of the most important criteria for sustainable beauty products was the use of 100 percent natural ingredients.” As a result, growing consumer preference for sustainable beauty product formulations has driven the development of numerous biodegradation protocols to assess these ingredients’ environmental impact.

A recent study published in Cosmetics​, “Thermophilic Composting as a Means to Evaluate the Biodegradability of Polymers Used in Cosmetic Formulations,” examines one such method and its potential impact on cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers and suppliers. The study’s abstract noted, “While OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) aquatic assays are suitable for water-borne chemicals, it is crucial for the personal care industry to consider the persistence of plastics in soil, compost, and municipal sludge.”

Further, the study’s abstract reported, “adopting this cradle-to-grave holistic approach would strengthen product appeal while increasing the accuracy and ethical integrity of green product labeling.” A holistic approach is essential for aligning product development with sustainable practices and meeting the expectations of environmentally conscious consumers.

Key takeaways

According to the US Composting Council, thermophilic composting is a process where organic materials are decomposed by microorganisms at high temperatures, typically between 40°C and 70°C (104°F and 158°F). This method accelerates the breakdown of organic matter and helps eliminate pathogens, resulting in a stable, humus-rich compost.

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