The problem the beauty industry poses on the planet is well versed but bears repeating. According to Zero Waste, more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, much of which is not recyclable. The majority of products come packaged in plastic, which – when talking about your average moisturiser pot – can take nearly 1,000 years to decompose. Then there’s the plastic wrappings, paper inserts, cardboard sleeves, foam, mirrored glass and more, sometimes all present in one purchase.
Of the product packaging we can recycle, half of us don’t. Research from Garnier found that over 56 per cent of Brits (that’s 4.5 million people) don’t recycle bathroom products because of the inconvenience. If these items aren’t given a second life, they simply go into landfill – or potentially litter our environment. Then there's the problems of sustainability of ingredients, and planet-damaging chemicals.
Thankfully, beauty companies big and small have been cleaning up their act, and as consumers make more conscious choices – increasingly armed with information on sustainability – a collective attitude shift has been made. To ensure you’re doing your bit try these simple swaps for a greener beauty regime.
10. Swap to water-responsible beauty brands
As the industry’s most used ingredient, there are concerns that demand for water could outstrip supply. Some brands are responding by formulating with richer ingredients and less (or no) water, with the likes of L’Oréal pledging to reduce water usage by 60 per cent per each unit of product by 2020.
While the trend for ‘waterless beauty’ may be a positive one, it’s not to say that by removing water from formulas means a product won’t have a significant water footprint – it undoubtedly still will. But seek out water-responsible brands, and those giving back.
Aveda, for example, partners with ‘charity: water’, and since 2007 has raised $300 million for clean water initiatives, completed over 29,000 water projects, and served 8.4 million people.