Is the term SUSTAINABLE Beauty just used as another marketing trick?
The word "Sustainable" means able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
Not very sustainable then, when we see more new beauty brands than ever! It may seem that everyone these days can start their own beauty brand. You are not a real celebrity if you don't have your own makeup or a skincare range, right?!
Also, then comes the packaging- recycled plastic, glass, amber glass or aluminium. How does an everyday consumer even begin to make a conscious choice? And when you finally receive your package, it is wrapped in 3 different boxes with 5 leaflets and a tissue paper. How do you know that this product is really sustainable or is it just a Greenwashing marketing trick?
It is something to think about...
There has been a lot of controversy around the beauty industry and waste. Rightly so, because it produces a whooping 120 billion units of cosmetics packaging each year and from that 79% ends up in a landfill.
Sadly, it's not only the packaging that we should worry about- but what's in that packaging. I remember around 10 years ago when I used to work in the beauty industry, there were separate sections in the stores for the smaller "natural" brands, that were using terms like- No Parabens or No Mineral Oils on their packaging. Moreover, you could spot the "organic customer" from a mile. Most people didn't really care, they wanted to know if the product works and if it looks nice in their bathroom cabinet. Thankfully a lot has changed, and we expect our skincare product- not to have parabens or use mineral oils.
However, does a product that claims to be "natural" and "sustainable" really that, when it's formulated with 50 ingredients? You just need to look at the back of the packaging to see all the exotic names, which travelled from all over the world- that surely cannot be sustainable you'd ask.
Now, unfortunately it doesn't end there. I experienced first-hand working for over a decade in the beauty industry that there is a problem that no one seems to talk about and that is a waste which comes from warehouses, damaged packaging, refunds, unused products which have passed their expiry date and unsold products. There is no data about it anywhere, however it is predicted that it can be as high as 20- 40% of cosmetic products that end up as a waste.
Zooming out, I believe that there needs to be a shift in people's mindset. Companies respond to what the consumer wants. You want sustainable? Great, let's put the cream in a glass jar, throw away the leaflet, add one or two of the "it" ingredients and call it sustainable. There is a lot of work to be done, from the supply chains to manufacturers. It is much easier for the small indie brands to make better choices from the start, than for a large company to implement the smallest change.
How many products are in your household? Do you use them all? Sustainable starts with the question every time you place a product in your basket "Do I need it?".
Let me know your thoughts,