Sustainability of Collagen Supplements

Sustainability of Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements have surged in popularity due to their many health benefits, such as improving skin health and supporting joint function. While acknowledging the positive effects of these supplements on our health, it's equally important to consider their impact on the environment. That's where the concept of sustainable collagen supplements comes into play.

Sustainable collagen supplements signify a mindful approach towards the environment throughout the product's life cycle, from sourcing the raw materials to the end disposal of the product. As the demand for collagen supplements grows, choosing sustainable options to mitigate potential environmental harm is imperative. It's about making choices that meet our needs without compromising future generations' ability to meet their own.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into six crucial factors to consider for evaluating the sustainability of collagen supplements. These factors include the source of collagen, the manufacturing process, packaging and transportation, animal welfare, the company's commitment to sustainability, and the concerns of overfishing and biodiversity.

We'll also discuss Planet Paleo's initiatives to ensure the sustainability of our products.

The Importance of Sustainability in Collagen Supplements

In the context of dietary supplements, sustainability refers to practices that respect and maintain ecological balance while reducing environmental harm. It encapsulates everything from the sourcing of raw materials, the manufacturing process to packaging and transportation, and finally, the disposal of the product.

Sustainability in the collagen supplement production chain is critical as it directly impacts the environment. Inefficient practices can lead to resource depletion, biodiversity loss, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, sourcing collagen from unsustainable fisheries can contribute to overfishing, leading to a decline in marine biodiversity. Similarly, using non-recyclable plastic packaging contributes to plastic waste, a significant environmental concern.

6 Sustainability Considerations of Collagen Supplements

As we venture into the sustainability considerations of collagen supplements, it is crucial to understand that these factors are interconnected, each playing a pivotal role in determining the product's overall sustainability.

Sourcing of Collagen

The sustainability of collagen supplements is heavily reliant on their source. Collagen can be derived from several sources like marine life (fish), bovine (cows) and chickens, or created synthetically (vegan). Each source has a different level of sustainability.

Marine and bovine collagen are often preferred due to their high bioavailability. As a byproduct of an existing industry (the meat industry) they are a sustainable way to mitigate against waste. Ultimately however, their sustainability depends on how environmentally sound the original management and husbandry of the animals is: if these sources aren't managed sustainably, they could contribute to environmental degradation. Overfishing and poor livestock management practices can seriously affect biodiversity and the environment, which is why it is important to examine the traceability of any collagen product you purchase and look for grass fed-certified sourcing where possible, with good environmental credentials. 

On the other hand, vegan collagen presents a potentially sustainable alternative by eliminating the need for animal sources altogether.

The Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process of collagen supplements also plays a crucial role in their sustainability. This process often involves extracting collagen from animals' skin, bones, and scales, which can be energy-intensive and result in waste products.

Many companies use harsh chemicals during extraction, which can lead to pollution if not properly managed. Efficient and eco-friendly manufacturing practices, such as recycling waste products or using green chemistry principles, can drastically reduce the environmental impact of collagen production.

Packing and Transportation

Packaging and transportation also contribute significantly to the sustainability footprint of collagen supplements. Traditional plastic packaging is a significant environmental concern, contributing to landfill waste and ocean pollution. Companies that opt for recyclable or biodegradable packaging, such as Planet Paleo, are committed to sustainability.

Similarly, transporting collagen supplements involves carbon emissions, contributing to global warming. Choosing brands that prioritise local sourcing and production or offset their carbon emissions can help support sustainability.

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is closely linked to sustainability. Ethical treatment of animals is not only a moral obligation but also influences the quality of collagen supplements. Unethical practices like factory farming which uses cheap industrial grain-based feed can compromise the health of livestock, leading to the spread of diseases that require antibiotics and lowering the overall quality of collagen sourced from these animals.

Prioritising suppliers who adhere to ethical farming practices, provide adequate living conditions for animals, and promote animal health is critical for sustainability. Such practices lead to better-quality collagen and help reduce the environmental footprint associated with poor animal welfare.

The Company's Commitment to Sustainability

A company's commitment to sustainability can be seen in its practices and policies. Companies dedicated to sustainability often publish sustainability reports, adhere to green business practices, and implement policies that prioritise the environment.

For instance, Planet Paleo has policies to ensure sustainable sourcing and also employs green packaging solutions. Planet Paleo ensures full traceability of our products, from source to shelf and is transparent about our sustainability practices.

Overfishing and Biodiversity

Overfishing seriously threatens marine biodiversity and is a concern when sourcing marine collagen. Overfishing can disrupt the ecological balance, lead to species extinction, and impact communities reliant on fishing.

For marine collagen supplements, choosing brands that source from sustainable fisheries, adhere to quota systems, and support marine conservation efforts is crucial. It ensures the longevity of marine species and helps maintain the balance of marine ecosystems. When assessing a brand for its eco credentials, it can be hard to tell the truth from the marketing bluster, so try to look for some kind of certification, which ensures the company has had to sign up to agreed benchmarks, and provide an audit trail and full traceability of its products. 

Vegan Collagen: A Sustainable Alternative?

As sustainability and animal welfare concerns rise, vegan collagen is a potential alternative to traditional animal-based collagen. Vegan collagen is synthetically created, typically using genetically modified yeast and bacteria, and is animal-free, thus addressing several ethical and ecological issues tied to animal sourcing. The production of vegan collagen sidesteps the environmental problems of overfishing and factory farming, making it an appealing alternative for those mindful of such issues.

It's essential to note that vegan collagen is not without its challenges. Producing vegan collagen can be more energy-intensive than traditional collagen extraction, posing a potential environmental concern. Additionally, vegan collagen doesn't have the same extensive body of research supporting its health benefits as traditional collagen. 

Despite these obstacles, technological advancements and research continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of vegan collagen production, making it a promising sustainable alternative in the collagen supplement market.

Planet Paleo's Sustainability 

At Planet Paleo, we're fully committed to sustainability and uphold this commitment through various initiatives.

Our sustainability initiatives include:

  • We source our collagen peptides from cattle that roam freely on natural Argentinian grassland. Our grass-fed collagen peptides' quality and animal welfare standards are certified by LIAF Control, a member of the American Grass-Fed Association.
  • Our Organic Bone Broth is crafted from high-quality, grass-fed cattle raised on organic farmland in Scandinavia and farmed to KRAV standards - the gold standard in farming.
  • As Europe's first MSC-certified marine collagen range, we produce our Marine Collagen in France from whitefish sourced from wild-capture fisheries that meet the MSC standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery and supply chain.
  • Grass-fed and organic are integral to our philosophy. We subscribe to superior welfare standards that include freedom from discomfort, fear, distress, pain, injury, and disease and ensure the freedom to express natural behaviour and freedom from hunger and thirst.
  • We have replaced all plastic tubs with home-compostable and sustainably sourced packaging from paper, cellulose, and cornstarch. This ensures less landfill waste, reduced greenhouse gases, and increased biodiversity.

Our certifications include the following:

  • Our marine collagen products are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
  • All bovine collagen products are certified grass-fed by LIAF control.
  • Our bone broth powder is certified organic by the Soil Association.

Collagen Supplements Sustainability

From the source of collagen to companies' commitment to sustainability, each aspect plays a crucial role in determining the environmental impact of these popular supplements.

Choosing sustainable collagen supplements requires a conscientious effort. Consider the source of collagen, the packaging, the company's commitment to sustainability, and the impact on animal welfare and biodiversity. Explore alternatives like vegan collagen and support companies that are transparent about their sustainability practices.

In an era where environmental concerns are at the forefront, making sustainable choices is more than a trend—it's a necessity. Consumers have the power to support a greener collagen industry, one supplement at a time. So the next time you reach for that collagen supplement, remember: your choice matters for you and the environment.