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.
9. Swap to sustainably sourced ingredients
Sustainability of ingredients used in products is another area of environmental concern, from how they’re sourced to the long-term impact of farming them for cosmetic purposes. Palm oil for example, which is used in approximately half of all consumer goods, is causing widespread deforestation plus the extinction of many animal species.
To avoid adding to the problem, the best way to identify if a product’s ingredients have been sustainably sourced is to look out for the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance logos on the packaging.
Also look out for sustainability partnerships within the industry. Various beauty brands, including Caudalie, are members of ‘1% for the Planet’, meaning they contribute one per cent of the company’s worldwide turnover to organisations working to protect the environment.