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Sustainability and the beauty industry

The beauty industry is bigger than ever. From makeup and skincare to sun cream, haircare, and body lotions, new products are hitting stores every day. But as we continue to fill our bathrooms, makeup bags, shelves (and ultimately bins) with the latest 'must haves', we need to stop and question just how sustainable this industry is and what are the environmental impacts?

70% of waste in the beauty industry comes from packaging, most of which is made from plastic and much of which we are not recycling. But there are lots of other environmental issues, such as chemical use and water use and lack of transparency around how the products are made and what's put in them.

Having just attended the Olympia Beauty annual trade show, our CEO - Diana, was compelled to attend a discussion forum on Sustainability and the Beauty Industry.

Here are some of the key messages she came away with...

Think about your sourcing

Where do you get your ingredients from? Traceability is becoming important to consumers.

Think about your packaging

Don’t overpackage. Where does all that tape and bubble wrap and polystyrene go? It’s not recyclable and mostly isn’t reused, just thrown away.

Use renewable materials where you can, e.g. corn chips.

Look for mono plastics that can be recycled.

Look for recycling materials within your packaging.

Think about what you are washing down the drain!

Green washing

Sustainability has become a hot topic. For larger brands it can take time to change suppliers and the production process. Smaller brands can be more nimble and fleet of foot.

How many companies are getting on the green bandwagon without thinking about long term sustainability? For example the shift towards using corn based plastic - how much sugar cane is required to produce this?

Understand why you are making the choices you do and be a conscious buyer and consumer!

We're not suggesting you throw out all of the products in your bathroom right now - as that would create more waste - but it's important that we make informed choices and consider the small changes, such as switching to plastic-free alternatives where possible and avoiding chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) - a foaming agent that uses palm oil in its production. Why not give SLS-free shampoo and conditioner bars a go? Our Community Champion Rachel was pleasantly surprised with the amount of lather from the LUSH bars she tried out.

Let's use our power as consumers to influence positive change.


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