Sustainability is the new buzzword in beauty, skincare, fashion and pretty much all areas of our lives. Of course it’s a huge topic, because it is a huge problem. Within the skincare and beauty industry, there’s hundreds of thousands of jars, bottles and compacts polluting landfills with seemingly no solution in sight. You may be surprised to hear this, but so-called “clean” beauty brands are also contributing to the growing pile of landfill, and it’s unfortunate that their marketing targets those who are actually interested in making a difference.
While a lot of new and old brands slap “recyclable” to their product pages, the truth is that a lot of these products just aren’t. If the brand isn’t part of programs that specifically help in recycling beauty products, it’s going to the landfill with the rest of the “unclean” beauty.
Oftentimes used for product packaging, plastic can be tricky when it comes to its ability to be recycled. If plastic or paper products have been printed on, that previously recyclable container is now doomed because the ink makes it trash. Glass packaging is also a hit or miss when it comes to recycling, because if it’s been sprayed or painted to be any color other than its original clear or brown, it can not be recycled. Currently, only 25-30% of glass and plastic is being recycled and that is quite small in my opinion.
So what can the brands you love actually do to offset our carbon footprint? While it’s not really that straightforward or measurable, we can only work with what we got. Yes, we can continue planting trees for every product sold and hosting beach clean-ups with our team once a year, but what is really needed is advancement in packaging development that allows for 100% recyclable components. In order to make that happen, brands need to push for change in component development.
You’re probably thinking, “okay, now what?” You love beauty and skincare, and you also care about the planet (as you should), what can you do in the meantime? Short answer: buy less product. The only path to less pollution is consuming less product. As a consumer, you are constantly bombarded by new products that you apparently need, and fear of missing out has become a reliable revenue stream for most brands. The thing is, a good amount of products in the current market bring little to no value to your quest for beauty. Inflated claims by well-known brands lead to disappointment, which then leads to half-full products sitting in the back of your shelf past their date of expiration. While I’m not usually one to defend these brands, the fact is that once they sign their souls to big retailers, they have no choice but to produce, produce, and produce because retailers demand newness to drive sales.
So here’s what you can do:
- Make a commitment to consuming less
This doesn’t mean to drop your 6-step skincare routine, it means being more intentional about the products you pick up. Do intense research, read product reviews, make sure the product aligns with your skincare goals and your skin type. This way you are less likely to contribute to product waste if you are picking up exactly what you need.
- Stick with reputable, tried and true brands
Find your brand soulmate and make a loose commitment, that way you know what to expect in terms of product efficacy. Sure, experimenting with newness can be fun, but try imagining that new product you barely touched in a pile with hundreds of thousands of other untouched goods.
- Listen to skincare experts, not 18 year-olds on TikTok
No offense, but it’s true. People dedicate decades of research to be able to give concrete, practical skin advice and that’s where you should be collecting your info. Understanding ingredients, their uses and purposes will allow you to waste less products and also, save money!
- Learn how to cocktail your products
By understanding ways in which you can mix and match your products throughout your routine, you minimize the need for excessive amounts of products. Keep a look out for our next blog post where we’ll be talking about ways in which you can tackle varying skin concerns with just a staple product assortment.
- Get creative with your empties
Use empty moisturizer tubs to store your jewelry, use clean serum bottles for DIY tinctures and use empty eye cream containers for travel-size moisturizer. Ultimately, the possibilities are endless. Get creative, have fun, you might as well!