Living With Climate Change: Plastic waste is such a big issue, Estée Lauder is looking to space for help

by | Jul 28, 2022 | Stock Market

It may sound like an unusual alliance: an Earth-orbiting space lab and a major comestics brand. But what draws the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, manager of the International Space Station National Lab, and Estée Lauder together is a necessity to tackle plastic waste. The ISS National Lab on Thursday announced winners for its Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics, tapping the leading ideas for leveraging the waste and sustainability data that its orbiting laboratory collects into action to reduce plastics in landfills and the world’s waterways. Winners can also count on the lab to test their ideas.

The contest builds on an ISS workshop’s recommendations to address the plastics dilemma through the design and production of sustainable polymers aided by access to space. Estée Lauder, whose beauty lines and packaging rely on the safety, hygiene and cost-effectiveness of plastic, but who has also declared waste cleanup and smarter plastic use as primary sustainability goals, will help fund the projects. Estée Lauder
is aiming to have 75%-100% of its packaging be recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled or recoverable as soon as 2025. It can already say that 70% of its packaging meets these goals. Broadly speaking, the bottles, tubes and containers used annually by the cosmetic industry adds up to 120 billion units of plastics packaging. And of that plastic, about 70% ends up in landfills, according to data from 2020. In all, only about 9% of the world’s plastic is successfully recycled, according to a report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD’s findings, released earlier this year, timed with United Nations’ efforts for a global plastic-reduction treaty. One of the ISS winners focuses on microgravity synthesis of a …

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