Your Guide to Zero-Waste Cosmetics
We all know that plastic is a big problem of our society. We are addicted to it - and it's almost impossible to live without it. Beauty and hygiene products are most commonly packed in plastic, as it's light, convenient and cheap. However, more and more brands are opting for plastic-free and this allows us to make an eco-friendly choice. Choosing solid cosmetics or those in recycled or recyclable packaging are some of the solutions which will help you reduce your household waste.
What is zero-waste?
"Zero Waste" is a relatively recent movement aiming at minimising the household waste - in the kitchen, office, bathroom - everywhere! Luxembourg was the 5th biggest producer of household waste in the EU in 2016. Every person generated 614kg of waste, and only about 29% of it was recycled (1). Much more than a trend, Zero Waste is a way of life that drives us to rethink our (over)consumption and its impact on the environment. There are examples of people who manage to keep down their annual (or more) plastic waste into a jar - including Stevie Van Horn and Lauren Singer.
Whether or not you want to radically change your lifestyle, any step towards zero or less-waste is a good step for the environment and future generations. When it comes to cosmetics, going less-waste is not that difficult. Start by switching your shampoo to a solid shampoo and your shower and face gel to a soap. Simple as that!
Cosmetics in glass packaging
Packaging is a significant part of the waste in our bathroom. You can reduce it by selecting eco-friendly and recyclable materials such as glass. Did you know that the production of plastic involved a lot of crude oil in an oil rafinery? Watch a video on how plastic is made here. In contrast to plastic, glass is made from sand (without oil) and may be recycled endlessly without any loss in quality.
We love cosmetics in glass packaging! Glass is a great material to protect your natural beauty products from light and bacteria. Skin & Tonic Detox Beauty Oil, for example, comes is a tinted glass bottle for optimal preservation of gorgeous oils it contains. The same for Organic Eye Contour from Matarrania. Once you finish using beauty products in glass packaging, you can recycle them or reuse (e.g. as a container for plants, spices, accessories etc.).
Cosmetics in recycled or recyclable packaging
Similarly to glass packaging, natural cosmetics often come in a recycled or recyclable packaging. We found that most common examples of recycled packaging materials in cosmetics include paper, aluminium and glass. When it comes to recyclable packaging, it's also paper, aluminium and glass - but recently some new materials were introduced such as bioplastic. La Saponaria, for example, offers its organic Aloe Vera Gel in bioplastic, which is made from sugar cane. It is 100% recyclable and its production emits 75% less greenhouse gas than conventional plastic. Other recyclable packaging alternatives include paper.
The best packaging solution is, of course, recycled and recyclable, such as deodorants from Ben & Anna. They come in a sturdy recycled paper tube which is fully biodegradable. We love the idea of composting finished product packaging - fully in the zero-waste spirit!
Cosmetics in aluminum packaging
Aluminum, similarly to glass, can be recycled endlessly without any loss in quality. Aluminium offers excellent protection against germs, UV, moisture and temperature variations. That is why some of our beloved green beauty brands have chosen aluminium to pack their products. La Saponaria, for example, locks its natural perfumes in beautiful aluminium pots. They have proven that zero-waste perfumes are possible! Also Clémence & Vivien offers its multi-purpose balms in aluminium. Such pots are not only zero-waste, but also very convenient for traveling!
In addition to turning towards more eco-friendly and sustainable brands, it is also important to review some of our daily habits. Removing makeup with cotton pads or disposable wipes is a disaster for the environment! Do you ever wonder what happens to all those pads and makeup wipes? If we use them as our everyday beauty essentials, our waste basket is full of wipes at the end of the week. So if you think "It's not that big", imagine what waste is produced from one skincare routine step over a year! Fortunately, natural beauty brands came up with great alternatives to these single-use pads and wipes - reusable, washable cleansing pads and cloths that work equally well! A frequently added bonus to them is that they are made from organic cotton - like our favourite cloth from Skin & Tonic.
Reusable cotton pads are also economical: unlike their non-eco-friendly counterparts which you have to buy every month, washable face cloths and pads will last for a very long time!
Our final tip for switching to zero-waste cosmetics is to make your own cosmetics at home! DIY is an interesting solution for those seeking to reduce their household waste. If you have coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint oil you can make your own toothpaste at home! The same for make-up remover oil, simply mix your favourite oils such as sesame oil, coconut oil and argan oil and voila! This is how you can give a second life to your post-cosmetics containers.
We hope you enjoyed reading this post and if you have any other tips on how to reduce waste at home leave a comment below!
Source: (1) EUROSTAT