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.
3. Swap your bathroom bin for a recycling bin
With the vast majority of beauty packaging being thrown out after just one use, and only 50 per cent of recyclable bathroom waste currently being recycled, making sure you have a recycling bin to hand is obvious, but often overlooked. Invest in a bathroom recycling bin for starters, and for those products that you aren’t sure how to recycle try Terracycle. The programme in partnership with Garnier offers free recycling for all beauty product packaging, and also gives users the opportunity to fundraise for their favourite school or charity. Simply print a free shopping label and take your empties to your local drop-off location. Also take advantage of the excellent Return to Origins recycling programme, which welcomes all cosmetic containers (including tubes, lids and caps) regardless of brand.
Also think about how you can upcycle your empty products. From using jars and bottles as vases and vessels for your hair accessories and make-up brushes, look to Pinterest for endless ideas.