Home Beauty Products New Ways The Beauty Industry Is Testing Sustainable Practices – Forbes

New Ways The Beauty Industry Is Testing Sustainable Practices – Forbes

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Data shows the packaging industry for consumer product goods, which includes personal care and beauty products, generates more than $25 billion in sales worldwide each year.

However, this demand comes with a major environmental impact: As much as 70% of plastic waste generated by the industry isn’t recycled. Instead, it ends up in landfills, according to the EPA.

Of this market segment, the cosmetics and beauty industry is a large contributor to the waste problem. Zero Waste Week data revealed that in 2018, more than 120 billion units of cosmetics packaging were produced globally—the majority of which were not recyclable.

When National Geographic recently took a deep dive into the cosmetics industry’s reliance on plastic and the implications of the waste associated with it, they found that for US-made products, plastic packaging is now used 120 times more than it was in 1960.

The good news is that small changes to these practices would make a major positive impact on the environment. Netherlands-based group LCA Centre found that if refillable containers were used for cosmetics, as much as 70% of carbon emissions associated with the beauty industry could be eliminated.

Reusable packaging is exactly what beauty brands like Olay are already testing. Olay recently announced that for three months it will test its top-selling Regenerist Whip moisturizer sold in refillable packaging. This test period will begin in October as part of the company’s larger sustainability plans. The effort is projected to save more than 1,000,000 pounds of plastic from entering landfills.

Anitra Marsh, Associate Director of Brand Communications for Global Skin and Personal Care Brands at Procter & Gamble, explained that this program is just one step within the brand’s larger commitment to making more of its packaging recyclable or reusable. She went on to say that if this pilot is successful, P&G will want to expand it across more product categories.

“Olay hopes that this will pilot a new way of shopping for skincare and beauty products that could dramatically reduce the amount of plastic used in the industry,” she said.

Other major beauty brands have recently decided to test the waters with more eco-friendly efforts, too. Luxury brand Chanel just announced its minority stake in Evolved by Nature, a “green” chemistry company.

However, there are beauty brands within the marketplace like Naturally Serious that are already fully committed to eco-friendly products and packaging. This brand offers recyclable packaging in Forest Stewardship Council certified cartons that are manufactured with wind power in a carbon-neutral facility.

Rochelle Jacobs, Managing Director of Naturally Serious, explained that for them, the goal was to create a brand that was not only made up of cleanly-made and ethically- developed formulas, but that also translated the same responsible message through its packaging.

“Consumers are showing a great interest and need for a more sustainable lifestyle, and this also means ensuring their beauty products are fitting into this emerging category,” she said.

This shift toward more responsible packaging does indeed appear to be something beauty buyers are expressing interest in and appreciate. A Harris Poll survey found that 59% of women over the age of 35 say purchasing eco-friendly beauty products is important to them.

For New York-based beauty consumer Sara Zucker, this rings true. “I always read the packaging to see what the company stands for, which may impact my final purchasing decision,” she said on Twitter. “I’m sick of being wasteful, and recycling and sustainable practices make me feel like I’m doing less harm.”

Another beauty buyer, Jessica Paoli, echoed this sentiment. “If I already recycle the shipping box, the packing slip, and the promo postcard, I also want to be able to responsibly discard the container for what I actually purchased,” she said.

Will beauty brands rise to the challenge and lean into recyclable or refillable packaging? With legacy brands like Olay testing the waters, we can hope that more will follow suit.

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