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What Are Reef Safe Products & What is Ocean Waste Plastic?

plastic and coral

You probably remember learning in school that water makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface—coincidentally water makes up 70% of your body too. All life on Earth relies on water for survival, so when we pollute our water with toxic chemicals and trash, we aren’t just hurting the planet—we’re hurting our bodies too.

Kinship is taking over Supergreat this week, and we're proud to be partnering with such an environmentally conscious skincare brand that understands the impact they have on our oceans’ delicate ecosystems. They go beyond formulating with clean skincare ingredients packaged in recyclable containers by working with Ocean Waste Plastic, a company that collects and recycles plastic from our oceans into sleek and sustainable packaging. They also formulate a high-quality glowy sunscreen that is actually reef safe and not just some marketing greenwashing.

Kinship’s goal is to protect your skin barrier and the Great Barrier Reef. Keep scrolling to learn why buying reef-safe sunscreen and beauty products packaged in ocean waste plastic is so important.

Hand holding Kinship's mint mud, supermellow, and insta swipe

Instagram @lovekinship

What does "Reef Safe" mean?

Imagine going to the beach and dumping nearly three gallons of sunscreen into the ocean. If you apply 2 tablespoons of sunscreen every single day (the amount recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation), that’s how much sunscreen you’ll wear in a single year.

While sunscreen is great for your skin, depending on the type you are wearing, it may not be great for our coral reefs. Sunscreens can decrease coral’s defense against bleaching, which occurs when algae leave coral due to stressed conditions like rising water temperatures. Sunscreen isn’t completely to blame for destroying these delicate ecosystems, but it is a contributing factor.

Even if you don’t live near the beach, you should still be conscious of your sunscreen’s impact on the ocean. To quote Gill from Finding Nemo, “All drains lead to the ocean,” meaning the SPF you wash off at your sink eventually makes its way into the sea. That’s why it’s important to choose sunscreens that are good for your skin and good for our oceans.

hands squeezing out Kinship's Self Reflect SPF

Instagram @lovekinship

Chemical sunscreens destroy coral reefs...

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two of the main culprits in chemical sunscreens that contribute to coral reef bleaching. While these chemicals convert sunburn-causing UV rays into harmless heat on your skin, they can actually damage corals’ DNA and decrease their defense against bleaching once these chemicals seep into the water.

Mineral sunscreens do not...

Particle size matters when it comes to mineral sunscreens. Most mineral sunscreens are formulated with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which sit on top of the skin and act as a physical shield against the sun’s harmful UV rays. These minerals typically leave behind a white cast. To combat that, skincare chemists have started formulating mineral sunscreens with nanoparticles that can be absorbed into your skin and consequently into coral. This defeats the purpose and makes some mineral sunscreens as harmful to coral as chemical sunscreens.

Kinship’s Self Reflect SPF is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide, which means the particles aren’t small enough to be absorbed by marine life, especially coral. Plus, it’s tinted to help reduce the appearance of white cast. For further proof of this white cast-free reef safe formula, watch these reviews:

Self Reflect
Self Reflect
Self Reflect

What is Ocean Waste Plastic (OWP)?

We’ve all seen the video of researchers carefully removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril. If you haven’t, watch at your own discretion. This heartbreaking video sparked the anti-plastic straw movement, but it’s also emblematic of the amount of unnecessary garbage that finds it’s way into our oceans and into our marine life.

Approximately 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year. That’s equivalent to a garbage truck emptying plastic into the ocean every minute. This abundance of plastic disrupts fishing communities all over the world. Fish get caught in larger plastics or mistake smaller plastics for food. Some commercial fishermen have even reported catching more plastic than fish in their nets. Luckily, there are organizations dedicated to cleaning up our oceans.

A man scooping garbage from the ocean

Instagram @lovekinship

Recycling is the way to go...

Kinship has partnered with Ocean Waste Plastic and local fishing communities in Indonesia to collect and recycle these pesky plastics. Together they have removed four tons of plastic waste from our oceans and converted it into Kinship’s cute and colorful packaging.

Not only does recycling ocean waste plastic reduce the amount of plastic available in the world, but producing ocean waste plastic also emits 75% fewer carbon emissions than producing virgin plastic and it saves 2x as much energy as incineration.

Kinship doesn’t stop there. All of the shipping materials are also made from post-consumer recycled paper and are 100% recyclable down to the plastic-free packing tape.

Keep the cycle going...

When you’re done with Kinship’s products, the brand encourages you to keep the packaging out of our landfills and oceans by sending them to recycling facilities once again. You can find step-by-step instructions on how to recycle each product on Kinship’s website under each product page. If your local curbside recycling won’t take your empties, Kinship will take them back with their Terracycle program.

Check out these Kinship products packaged in ocean waste plastic:

Mint Mud
Naked Papaya
Pimple Potion

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In this article

Kinship Self Reflect

Kinship Mint Mud

Kinship Naked Papaya

Kinship Pimple Potion