Words: Heleayner Davies
‘If brands don’t change their approach now, they won’t exist in the future. Beauty and personal care businesses must switch to a whole new paradigm in terms of sustainability and zero waste.’ - Mintel
So, you’ve got your reusable coffee cup, water bottle and shopping bag. But what are you doing in your beauty routine to help reduce plastic waste? Recent research by recycling company TerraCycle reveals that the global cosmetics industry produces a mind-boggling 120 billion units of packaging every year. Additionally, only 50% of bathroom products are actually being recycled, according to the national recycling campaign for England, recyclenow.
In the past, the word ‘recycle’ has been imprinted infinitely on our minds. However, eco-lifestyle expert, Lucy Siegle, reveals that we are currently dealing with a global recycling crisis. She believes that recycling is not the most sustainable approach, and there needs to be more of a focus on materials that can be reused and repurposed. Instead, she feels that we should all adopt a ‘reuse it before you lose it’ mindset.
However, we understand that recycling is sometimes the only option for brands to become more sustainable - at the moment it is the best option that we have for our refill pouches. Waste management should be an important focus for all brands, and we believe that they should take responsibility for their waste by offering zero-waste alternatives, or by introducing recycling incentives that reward consumers for returning their empty products to be upcycled for further consumption. Our solution? Refillables.
Refillable beauty is helping us break up with our single-use plastic habit. Gone are the days of having to deconstruct your beauty products and sort through which parts can actually be recycled (most of which cannot). Increasingly, more and more brands (like us) are now making it possible for you to refill your empty shampoo, shower gel and even perfume bottles once they have been used to the very last drop.
Refillables also come with many perks. Not only are you reducing your plastic waste, but you get to invest in some super chic beauty packaging, like our very own planet-friendly aluminium bottles. Just like your favourite pair of shoes or cherished handbag, these beauty essentials were made to be adored and kept for years. Not only does this reduce your contribution to plastic pollution, but it ensures that you are not being held responsible for recycling your beauty products. A win-win situation.
Here at The Conscious Beauty Co, we are aware that this requires a huge shift in consumer mind set. However, we are positive that this trend will only continue to grow bigger and bolder throughout the beauty industry. In fact, as consumers become more environmentally conscious, recent evidence by market researcher, Mintel, suggests that they are more attracted to brands that not only take responsibility for their waste, but also facilitate waste reduction processes. This is a huge opportunity for already established brands to become more sustainable, producing packaging solutions that are built to last.