Tackling the Blemish of Waste in Beauty Packaging & Products
The beauty industry is known to produce high volumes of packaging, amounting to around 120 billion units per year. Much of this is not recycled.
Many beauty brands are keen to ditch the reputation for excessive packaging, single-use materials and an on-trend throw-away culture. Companies including Buff Natural Bodycare and All Earth Mineral Cosmetics have zero waste policies. UK brands including Georganics, White Witch and Flora & Curl have been built on a culture of sustainable products and packaging.
The Switch to Environmentally Friendly Beauty Brands
To support wider action, the British Beauty Council have produced a Sustainability Report for the industry; Courage to Change highlights the need for beauty brands to embrace sustainability.
The report highlights that 1 in 7 customers who have switched to a new cosmetic product or brand have been driven by environmentally-friendly credentials. So, this is a commercial as well as an ethical decision.
The data reveals that 41% of respondents felt guilt about the environmental impact of beauty products and they were looking to brands to make it easier to make planet-friendly choices. The report also details findings from a Futerra Study which found that 88% of beauty customers were keen to purchase from brands that:
- Use less packaging
- Provide information on how to recycle products and packaging
- Offer refill options
- Detail supply chain sustainability
Recyclable Luxury Packaging
One of the challenges for the beauty industry is luxury packaging. Quality has often been expressed through visual impact. Foil embossing and high gloss finishes give the packaging an indulgent appearance. This boosts the perception of brands and the desirability of the product inside.
The challenge is that the finishes on luxury packaging often makes it unsuitable for recycling, but change is underway. Clinique is the first Estée Lauder brand to be undergoing a packaging makeover. The new packaging uses innovative bio-based resins that deliver impact, yet can be recycled. This is expected to reduce waste in the production process by 15%, as well as increasing end-of-use recycling.
Reducing the Volume of Unused Beauty Products
Whilst tackling packaging waste has been the main focus of moves to reduce the environmental impact this is only part of the picture. It is estimated that 20-40% of all cosmetics produced are wasted. This includes unused testers, unsold or expired stock and discontinued ranges that have never been opened.
In addition to this are the many products that customers have in their homes. We often try a product that simply isn’t right for our skin or hair. Used once and never again, the product sits in a drawer or is binned.
Several brands are addressing this waste through personalisation; the Dcypher foundation range is a fantastic example. Using data provided by the customer, they create custom formulations. Freshly made when ordered, there is no risk of producing excessive quantities. As the product is designed specifically for the customer, it is more likely to be used in full.
Upcycling Beauty Ingredients
We know that glass, aluminium or cardboard packaging can be recycled into more packaging for future products, but what about recycled ingredients?
Some brands are thinking outside the box and are collaborating to source waste products as vital ingredients. Liz Earle’s Superskin range includes cranberry seeds, a waste material from juice producers. Up Circle Beauty has developed formulas using other food waste products including used coffee granules and bruised fruit. They may no longer be edible, but these items are valuable ingredients for skincare products.
Sustainable Packaging Manufacturer
Aylesbury Box Company is an FSC accredited manufacturer and supplier of cardboard packaging. We support brands with packaging design and provide evidence of a sustainable supply chain. We are proud to supply shipping boxes to Georganics, Flora & Curl and Dycpher.