The skincare and beauty industry is a very fast-moving industry that creates an inevitable amount of waste. The personal care industry is worth $500 billion per year that produced billions of units of packaging that are produced globally each year. Through the increase of media coverage of the impact of choice, I think more than ever, we become more conscious about the product we use and the trash we create from it. That is why the word “sustainable beauty” is such a buzzword in the skincare industry. Although there is still a lot of room for improvement and a lot to catch up for the sustainable industry to fulfill the demand of the market, the industry has recently offered a lot more options for recyclable packaging, eco-friendly materials/ink, or even product refill options.
While brands are in charge of the above points, we do think there are ways for us as a customer to make wiser and better choices. We have the responsibility to choose only skincare products/brands that are not only good for our skin but also care for our Mother Earth. Here are some of my tips to reduce waste and make our skincare industry more sustainable:
1. Intentional skincare
The first and easiest step is to choose ONLY skincare products that serve a purpose in your skincare routine. I think it is important to not impulsively make a skincare purchase without knowing the main purpose of your products and how it targets your skin concern. The question is about whether is it a need or just a want? These simple changes can largely reduce one’s potential waste.
✓ Tips: Don’t fall into the trend traps that don’t serve any additional purpose to your current skincare routine.
2. Choose brands that are contributing to the planet
This is definitely a complex one since there is a lot of aspects that contribute to it. Some of the factors you may want to consider are their commitments for ingredients that are responsibly-sourced, the production process, thoughtful packaging options, shipping and distribution, post-purchase recycling and waste management options, or their corporate social responsibility (CSR) act. You may also want to support brands whose products or mailer boxes use 100% recyclable materials.
3. Choose larger-size or refillable products
Stick to what you know works well for you! Some brands have initiate making a larger size of their all-time-best products. In this way, we minimize the carbon footprint and also the lifetime of the packaging that we use for a single product. Products such as toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen that are used in a large amount each day are an example of products that are available in a larger size.
- 1. Repurpose your products
Don’t toss away products that don’t work well for your (facial) skin. There are multiple ways for you to repurpose your products for a different part of your body too!
• Facial cleanser – Body wash
• Facial moisturizer – Body/hand cream
• Sunscreen – Body sunscreen
• AHA / BHA – Use it for dry and flaky feet, elbows, or knees
• AHA / BHA toner – Use it for your armpits
• Benzoyl peroxide face wash – Underarm wash
1. Upcycle / recycle the packaging
Some product packaging is just too pretty to toss out and you can definitely treasure them by upcycling them into something new for your vanity! You can turn your moisturizer jars into a cotton/jewelry holder, flower vase. Your bottle of toners can also be upcycled to a vase. If you are feeling extra crafty you can spray paint the bottle before you use it and create your own unique design!
- 2. Upcycling tips:
- • Face mask/moisturizer jars – Cotton/jewelry holders, vase
- • Toners – Vase
On the other hand, if you still opt to recycle them, you should definitely check out your local authorities’ regulation on recycling or simply look into any organization that will help process them for you.
Recycling rules can be confusing and overwhelming for some people but it is one of the easiest ways for you to minimize your carbon footprint.
- 1) Check for any packaging recycling policy from the brand
- 2) Check your city’s recycling rules (if there’s any)
- 3) Check the Mobius loop on your packaging to distinguish the type of plastic used.
- 4) Clean all your products properly before recycling
- 5) Remove any excess stickers/labels, pumps, droppers, or another unrecyclable part of the packaging