120 billion units. That’s how much the global beauty industry produces plastic waste. Since the use of plastic in 1950, only 9% of the world’s plastic has been recycled. More than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been generated since 1950. 60% of this waste ends up harming the natural environment.
Statistically speaking, one garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute. If we continue this then by 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than there are fish. Beauty and personal care brands are more at fault here. The attractive design and packaging that comes with the product is a culprit behind the world losing 18 million acres of forest each year.
Seeing the landfills overflooded with plastic waste, Abhishek Kumar and Rhea Shukla thought of the word ‘meliorism’ which means the belief that the world can change with human effort. They saw the damage done to landfills by toxic consumption and unsustainable disposable practices.
The duo founded Meliorism Switchism Private Limited under which they started The Switch Fix in 2019. The Haryana-based startup is a personal care brand that is plastic-free, environmentally safe and vegan. They offer hair care, body care and skincare products. Their formulations are sulfate-free, paraben-free and alcohol-free. They have soaps, shampoos, scalp treatments and even bamboo-made toothbrushes available.
Whereas their packaging is free of plastic and is locally sourced which helps them cut down their carbon footprint by 70%. Last year, the startup saved 23,000 litres of water and removed 41,500 plastic bottles. A portion of their profits goes to better the health opportunities of children living near landfills. They were Vogue’s ‘Sustainability Icon’ in Mindful Beauty.
In 2021, they received $145,000 in a seed fund round led by Venture Catalysts. Kushal Khandwala and 9Unicorns also participated in this round. With these funds, they want to expand their presence and make more people adopt environmentally-friendly habits.
The Indian haircare market alone is valued at $3.3 billion and is about to reach $5 billion by 2025. Will startups like Switch Fix, with their unique offering, help fix the environment from the dangers of plastic waste?