Today’s perfume is about as romantic as hazardous waste. 95% of the chemicals used in perfumes manufactured are derived from petroleum. Perfume laboratories are really just full of scientists trying to discover the most profitable sweet smelling molecule rather than mixing vats of rose petals. Because each perfume can contain dozens or hundreds of scents that evaporate into the air, this causes environmental problems. Also the chemicals used are from from fossil fuels, which is dangerous when being extracted and transported from the environment. It causes damages not only to the air we breathe, but the water ways are also in danger of being poisoned.
Perfumes do not show a complete list of ingredients on the packaging either. The average fragrance product that was tested contained fourteen secret ingredients not listed on the label. My real interest in how perfumes are bad for the environment was ignited by the actual bottle they are presented in. I wondered why it is impossible to have the bottles opened so they can be refilled to be used again. I had received as a gift a large splash bottle of cologne, which was not very easy to use. I went through each and every bottle of perfume that I own (which mind you is quite a few) and to my disappointment none could be opened. What a shame I thought. Such cute, beautiful bottles that will be discarded and will become toxic to the ecosystems of waterways.
Soon after this had happened to me, a friend from work told me about a recent trip she had purchasing perfume at an exclusive store like Nordstrom. You can buy a large size bottle at first, and when it runs out you can bring it back for refill and a lesser charge to you. Actually a third of the price. I was happy to hear that at least some big companies are trying to make an effort for our environment and also saving us, the consumer, some money.
Perfume truly is a luxury that we all love to possess. It has been around for centuries. Early perfumeries were by all means keeping the natural essence alive, using natural scents and spices to indulge our senses. In our times, however, we need to work on our packaging and processing to keep perfume as beautiful as the fragrant potpourri it holds for our noses and surroundings.