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.
8. Swap cotton wool and face wipes for reusable versions
If you can’t kick your face wipe habit, remember to place used ones in your rubbish bins (never down the toilet), or switch to versions such as the Neal’s Yard Organic Facial Wipes which are compostable, or can be added to textiles recycling collection points (once dried out). Alternatively, reusable muslin cloths and traditional flannels make light work of make-up removal – when used with your cleanser – or try Face Halo, reusable face pads that require only water. These clever dual-sided make-up removers which can be machine washed up to 200 times are made up of fibres 100 times finer than human hair to ensure a gentle but thorough cleanse.