This is a series of 5 blog posts covering the following topics:
- The Plastics Problem: A Pressing Issue for the Beauty Industry that Requires a Long-Term Solution,
- Why Sustainable Packaging is Critical for a Sustainable Future,
- Sustainable Packaging Trends and Challenges for Skincare Brands,
- Rethinking Plastic Packaging – Towards a Zero-Waste, Circular Economy, and
- 3 Things That You Can Easily Start Doing Now (And Make a Huge Impact Towards a More Sustainable Future).
With #shelfies and detailed skincare and beauty routines prominent on social media, forums and YouTube videos, pretty packaging is synonymous with luxury and self-care—and it’s not unusual for consumers to buy products based solely on packaging. (source)
In spite of its many advantages, plastic packaging has developed a bad reputation when it comes to its environmental impact. Strong media attention and consumer demand has resulted in some positive, although scattered efforts from government, brands and manufacturers to address this problem.
However, phasing out plastics entirely and developing effective and sustainable packaging alternatives is a massive issue that requires systematic, holistic thinking and united action from consumers, brands and regulators, to ensure that we don’t shift the burden to other areas or worsen their environmental impact.
Here are 3 things that you can easily start doing now to make a huge impact towards a more sustainable future.
1. Avoid Emotional Spending.
Make informed, not emotional purchase decisions.
Avoid making purchasing decisions based on marketing gimmicks, influencer trends or two-for-one specials. Think about the skin concerns or problems that you want to solve, then search for products that address those needs. Remember that your skin is unique, and you're the best judge when it comes to it.
Support brands that show a commitment towards sustainability. Some great indicators include:
- Is the brand affiliated with a recycling program like TerraCycle or do they recycle the empty containers themselves?
- Do they offer a reusable packaging alternative?
- Do they source their ingredients locally?
- Are their ingredients and formulas EWG VERIFIED™?
- Are their manufacturing (and other supply-chain) processes environmentally-friendly – eg. renewable resources, resource consumption, carbon footprint, sustainable printing, plastic-free shipping?
2. Return. Recycle. Repeat.
Recycle your empties responsibly and ‘never’ litter.
Find out if the container can be recycled before throwing it away. For example websites like Call2Recycle.org offer useful recycling information for different locations. Dispose of any remaining formula and rinse the container to avoid contamination. Below are some recycling guidelines for different types of products:
- Cellophane: This is the wrapping often found outside fragrances and new make-up products. This material generally cannot be recycled, so enquire before putting it in your recycling bin.
- Plastic bottles: These are accepted by most recycling programmes. However, make sure that you have emptied and cleaned them out first. You can also leave the lids on as these can be recycled, unless it’s a trigger head or a pump. Dispose of any remaining formula in your normal bin. Do not pour it down the sink!
- Aerosols: Hairsprays and deodorants can be recycled in most household collection schemes. But do make sure they’ve been completely finished before recycling them.
- Mascara, lipstick, make-up palettes (eye shadow, bronzer, blusher): These are too complicated to recycle.
In the UK, TerraCycle has partnered with Garnier to create a free recycling programme for beauty packaging, and these can be taken to one of their allocated drop-off locations. Find your nearest one here. They will also take sheets masks and their wrappers, face wipes and their packets, trigger sprays, pumps, pipettes, roll-on deodorants. For US residents, head to this page.
- Glass jars: As long as these have been emptied and cleaned then you can put them in your recycling bin.
- Cotton pads: These can be recycled with your food waste.
- Hair tools: If they still work, gift them to someone you know or take them to your local charity shop. If they’re broken, they can be recycled at a specific centre.
- Nail varnish, fragrance bottles, make-up brushes: These generally cannot be recycled, so enquire before putting them in your recycling bin.
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste: Don’t put these in your recycling bin, there are special drop-off locations that have been set up by TerraCycle. (source)
3. Spread The Word.
Word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool to drive change.
Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions, according to a recent research article by McKinsey. Its influence is greatest when consumers are buying a product for the first time or when products are relatively expensive, factors that tend to make people conduct more research, seek more opinions, and deliberate longer than they otherwise would. (source)
So you can make a huge impact too with simple, everyday actions. Make sure you tell your friends and family about those new brands and products discoveries, and how they are making a great impact towards a more sustainable future.
Choose Ao Skincare
Better for you skin. Better for the planet.
Here at Ao, we take sustainability seriously. Protecting your skin health and the environment has been at the core of our values since day one. Read on to find out some of the key things we are doing to protect our planet. We’d love to hear what you’re doing! Tell us in the comments or reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook.
- At Ao, we source the majority of our pristine ingredients locally, from the remote New Zealand wilderness, and partner with EWG and Credo Beauty to assure you that our ingredients meet the strictest standards for your health.
- We follow gold standard practices through every step of our supply chain. Our formulas are manufactured using an innovative and environmentally-friendly method known as cold processing, which not only preserves the integrity and potency of our delicate active ingredients but also significantly reduces resource consumption during manufacturing - in particular energy and time. Most traditional methods rely on heating and cooling processes that account for over 90% of the total energy costs for the production of an emulsion.
- Our outer packaging is made out of FSC Certified recycled cardboard. We use an innovative glueless design in which boxes are held shut employing either tension or a locking mechanism. Additionally, we use no gloss or laminas during printing, to ensure that the cardboard remains 100% recyclable.
- Our shipping processes are plastic-free. We use recycled paper shipping envelopes or bags, and no bubble wrap, polystyrene or plastic wrapping around shipping pallets.
- Our airless pump tubes and containers can sent back to us (free of charge) to be recycled through TerraCycle Beauty Products Zero Waste Boxes™.
- We periodically revisit our product packaging to improve our environmental impact and reduce unnecessary waste and resource consumption. Currently, we are working on a Full Airless Recycling Program (currently no other brands we know offer this), and a Reusable Program (refills). Stay tuned for more, either by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Instagram or Facebook.
- Our ultimate goal is to develop a fully biodegradable airless container solution.
Sources: www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/what-eco-friendly-packaging-skin-care-t149686 organicallybecca.com/zero-waste-sustainable-packaging/ www.aoskincare.com/blogs/news/skincare-packaging-why-it-matters www.thinkstep.com/blog/packaging-under-siege www.thinkstep.com/blog/top-9-sustainable-packaging-trends-2019 academic.oup.com/asj/article/30/1/74/199813 www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/3-ways-to-fix-chaotic-packaging-sustainability-definitions-2019-08-15 www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/reducing-environmental-impact/waste-and-packaging/rethinking-plastic-packaging/ www.packaginglaw.com/special-focus/packaging-and-environmental-legislation-united-states-overview www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/04/beauty-personal-care-industry-plastic/ www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-waste-pollution-trash-crisis/ www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-solutions-waste-pollution/ www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/plastic-waste-and-climate-change-whats-the-connection#gs.70ioir www.carpmaels.com/innovation-in-the-beauty-industry-solving-the-ugly-problem-of-single-use-plastic/ www.marieclaire.co.uk/beauty/how-to/recycle-beauty-products-658670 www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/a-new-way-to-measure-word-of-mouth-marketing Guidelines on Stability of Cosmetic Products, published by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) in 2004