Clean beauty is not just about the products, it’s also about the packaging – and that’s where the beauty story can turn ugly. Shockingly, more than 20 million tonnes of rubbish are sent to landfill in Australia each year, with empty and old beauty packaging among the waste polluting our environment. The cosmetics industry has traditionally been a huge user of plastic – and excessive packaging. Just think about your average moisturiser – more often than not it comes in a plastic tube, within a glossy cardboard box containing plastic or cardboard inserts, with the whole box wrapped in a film of – yes, you guessed it – plastic.
As awareness of the environmental damage caused by landfill grows, cosmetic companies have started to acknowledge the importance of a circular economy, which means not only are they looking to make their packaging from recycled waste, they’re also working to ensure their packaging is recycled again once it’s used, so it never becomes landfill.
Industry heavyweights L’Oréal and Unilever are among the names that have committed to ensuring all their plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and other companies are also starting to signal change. UK-based REN has set 2021 as its target date for zero waste, while colourful beauty name LUSH has taken the concept of waste reduction to a whole new level, choosing Milan as the location for its first 100% “Naked” store, stripped bare of any product packaging.
It’s not just the corporates that need to change their ways – we all need to make sure that our quest to look good doesn’t destroy Mother Nature’s beauty. Not only should we be trying to minimise our beauty waste, we need to make sure we recycle whatever waste we create. So how can you add some more green to your beauty palette?
There’s a (landfill) mountain of ways you can reduce your beauty waste. So if you’ve got any great hacks to help keep the earth looking good, please share them with us.
Story by Libby Moffet