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.
4. Swap single-use packaging for refillables
Invest in refillable beauty products and take advantage of companies offering refill schemes. Look to Soap Co and Method for hand care; L’Occitane and Rituals for bath and body care; L’Occitane and Windle & Moodie for hair care; Kjaer Weis and Lush for make-up; By Killian and Experimental Perfume Club for fragrance. Many brands, including Kiehl’s and Mac also offer in-store recycling initiates with reward schemes.
When it comes to sheet masks, reusable versions are becoming more readily available. The new Miss de Gaspé sheet masks from Nannette de Gaspé can be used up to five times; while the dry sheet masks by Charlotte Tilbury and Trish McEvoy can be reworn around three times. Also opt for biodegradable versions, such as The Body Shop Drops of Youth Concentrate Facial Sheet Mask.