Beauty Product Packacking

More plastic in the oceans than fish?

One third of the garbage in U.S. landfills is from plastic packaging and containers.  The global beauty and cosmetic industry produce 120 billion units of packaging annually.  The cardboard inside the plastic packaging contributes to 18 million acres of forest loss annually. Lipstick tubes can take more than 450 years to biodegrade.  Unless packaging is changed, by 2050 there will be 12 billion tons of plastic in landfills – the equivalent of 35,000 Empire State Buildings. The industry is growing, which means more products for consumers to buy that will end up in landfills. Experts estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

These statistics and consumer concerns have caught the industry’s attention and many newly eco-conscious companies want to reduce their environmental footprint by creating sustainable packaging.  Research from Euromonitor International, a British marketing research company, shows that consumers aged 25–34 check to confirm that beauty product packaging is environmentally friendly before purchasing a product.

Many beauty companies have launched organic, natural and environmentally friendly products like sulfite-free shampoos and paraben and chemical-free make up.  Our goal should be to not only use natural, chemical-free beauty products, but choose the ones whose packaging is also sustainable.

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Here are some of the companies that are using sustainable packaging for their products:

Garnier has teamed up with recycling firm TerraCycle to encourage better recycling practices in Britain by allowing consumers to drop off any cosmetic or beauty product packaging at TerraCycle depots or post it to them for free. In exchange, consumers receive points that can be turned into a donation to a non-profit.

ByHumankind has a refillable system for its deodorant, mouthwash (comes in tablet form) and shampoo.

Dior uses natural ink on packaging cartons and wood from sustainable forests for its paper and cardboard.

Kevin Murphy and Herbal Essences hair care products are packaged in Ocean Waste Plastic (OWP) packaging.

Empty containers of MAC make-up can be returned to the store for a free lipstick and they are used to make Aveda pencil sharpeners and other beauty tools.

Lush solid shampoos

Lush has opened a plastic free store in Britain and sells all their solid skin and body care without any packaging at all. Their shampoo is sold in solid bars, requiring no packaging.

Axiology has developed a lipstick tube made from recycled aluminum which can be repurposed again.  Its outer cardboard packaging is made from Bali beach waste and is compostable.

L’Oréal has signed up with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s “New Plastics Economy” goals. L’Oréal aims to make ALL of their packaging reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2025 and to have 50% of that packaging be from recycled material.

Ren has partnered with NGOs to remove plastic from the rivers, oceans, lakes, and beaches and use that plastic to make the bottles for their body wash.  Later this year they will expand their use of recycled plastic packaging to more of their products.

Neal’s Yard has its products in recyclable blue glass and 100% recycled plastic bottles.  They also have a refill plan for two of their products at a fraction of their original cost.

Yes To cleansing wipes are biodegradable and compostable and no plastic is used in the packaging.

Shiseido has been using refillable products since 1926.  More recently they have developed environmentally friendly and biodegradable packaging.  They have joined SPICE (Sustainable Packaging Initiative for CosmEtics).

Let’s follow the 25–34-year-olds example and only buy beauty products using sustainable packaging.


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