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Vaseline is an ointment that is made from petroleum jelly, and it is commonly used for moisturizing dry skin, lips, hair and minor skin scrapes and burns. Vaseline started out in the US, so at first, it was manufactured there. But as time progressed, the company became larger and Vaseline is manufactured all around the world in places such as Europe, Canada, Africa etc.
Vaseline was founded in the 1870s by Robert Chesebrough. Ten years prior, Chesebrough learned about rod wax (a residue from oil rig pumps) while visiting the oil fields of Titusville, Pennsylvania.
The oil workers there used rod wax to heal wounds. Chesbrough took samples of rod wax home and purified and tested Vaseline for 10 years. He was his own guinea pig since he tested the ointment on self-inflicted wounds such as cuts, burns etc.
Vaseline actually was called Wonder Jelly at first but in 1872 Chesebrough changed the name into Vaseline. Vaseline comes from the German word wasser, which means water, and from the Greek word elaoin, which means olive oil.
In the 1900s Vaseline grew popular and started globalizing, and in 1917 Vaseline was used to help out the soldiers in World War One. By 1987, Vaseline was bought by Unilever, which is the parent company.
Vaseline has an environmental impact. Like I have mentioned earlier, Vaseline is made from petroleum jelly. Petroleum is not a renewable material, and there are many concerns about how crude oil is taken from the underground. The main issue is how refining petroleum from transforming crude oil into petrochemicals creates air pollution.
This releases toxins into the atmosphere that is very harmful to the ecosystem’s health as it is harmful to humans.
Petroleum jelly or more generally oil is not a sustainable resource. Oil is very much limited in quantity. Like I mentioned earlier, the way oil is taken from the underground causes long-term harm to the environment, which obviously is not very sustainable for Earth. The biggest and most talked about issue is climate change, but there are other issues that are very destructive such as acid rains, oil spills, waste oil etc. There have been many steps on resolving these issues but there is a need for more steps to be taken.
The Vaseline mission statement is “Skin healing where people need it most”. Vaseline helps in to treat skin conditions in developing countries. They do this by partnering up with the Direct Relief organization. Vaseline works mainly in countries such as Nepal, India, and Jordan. They have reached 2, 587, 888 people across 61 countries. They do their work through product donations, healing missions, and training programs.
Vaseline does not really source their materials. They proudly say that the regular Vaseline is 100% petroleum jelly but other products do not have the ingredients listed. They only have a general overview of the ingredients. This may mean that they are hiding something, but we are not sure. Vaseline’s plastic containers are made from recyclable plastic, but their goal is to make their packaging completely recyclable or compostable by 2025.
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