Behind the buzzwords: what ‘plastic-free’ and ‘zero waste’ mean for these beauty brands

Gareth Després is the director of the UK-based School of Natural Skincare, whose graduates typically go on to release their own brands. He states hes impressed by how many have dropped plastic from their operations.

From naturally degradable antiperspirant tubes to refillable containers, Caros Creams and Wheesht Masks are examples of how little appeal brand names are prioritising sustainability. But is ditching plastic constantly the very best option?

Nearly 50 per cent of cosmetics product packaging is made of plastic, and the industry is actively browsing for alternatives, especially those brand names with a more ethical or natural principles. Thankfully, little business do not have to look too far for motivation: with numerous of their items sold in solid type, high street chain Lush was an early pioneer.

” Recently, we bought loads of products from our trainees– we had about 10 boxes get here,” says Després. “Products can be found in from all over the world– and there was no plastic in any of them. They all can be found in recycled cardboard boxes; the [product packaging inside was] recycled paper; the products were either packaging-free, had paper or hemp product packaging, or came in glass bottles. And inside [each and every single box] was a little leaflet about [the business] eco policy.”

Conducting brands are helping eliminate plastic from beauty regimes. Image: Kevin Laminto

” Everything tended to be in plastic. I questioned if plastic is more hygienic since possibly options cant be sanitised or sealed to the same extent.

A plastic overlord would likely be among them if there was a troop of comic book design villains who represented the dangers facing life on Earth. Its extremely helpful, sure, however oh how weve overstepped our bounds. According to campaigning organisation, Surfers Against Sewage, there are 500 times more microscopic pieces of plastic in the oceans than stars in the galaxy.

With the general public increasingly inspired to do something about plastic– Plastic Free July, for circumstances, remains in full speed– organizations are reacting by re-thinking their product packaging and general environmental policies.

Caroline Lee-Smith, a graduate of their Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation course, and owner of Bristol-based skin care brand name, Caros Creams, says that when she started her organization six years ago, plastic-free wasnt the norm.

Bristol-based Caros Creams has a strict eco policy that covers everything from water usage to product packaging

Lee-Smith prides herself on being ecologically conscious within her operations: she has actually composed a substantial eco policy that covers everything from renewable resource to sustainable water utilize to packaging. Essentially all of her product packaging– containers, labels, covers, tubes– is made from non-plastic, naturally degradable or recyclable materials. Clients can likewise return their empty glass containers, which she reuses and sanitises.

So while claims such as plastic-free and zero waste sound quite excellent from a marketing and eco credentials perspective, the most sustainable, or practical, choice may not be to quit plastic totally. For Lee-Smith, who worked previously as a bulky waste reuse consultant for government, consuming whats already distributing felt more impactful than sourcing brand-new, more recyclable product packaging. Undoubtedly, anybody familiar with the waste hierarchy would agree.

However in the quest to be as sustainable as possible, surprisingly, Lee-Smith does still use some plastic. Products are sometimes delivered in bubble wrap, but importantly, all of it is pre-used. “My whole street, [everyone on my] school run, my Facebook community group, they all supply me with their used packaging. And I pile everything up and recycle it,” she says.

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Bearing in mind plastic and waste are priorities for these brand names, but for companies that want to minimise their environmental effect, Lee-Smith and Ford say that holistic decision-making is essential. The only plastic product packaging in Lee-Smiths line is the lid of her pipettes for face and hair serums. They serve a very particular purpose, delivering a small amount of product to a preferred location in a mess-free method. And they are reusable.

Like Caros Creams, Scottish brand Wheesht Masks, based in Stirling, puts sustainability front of mind. Owner Kelly Ford makes vegan, cruelty-free clay-based face masks and other skincare items, such as beard oil and cleaning balms. Her products can be found in glass jars with aluminium covers, and trial sizes are sold in eco-friendly pouches. Furthermore, masks are available in powder form and are preservative-free. This means the customer gets much better value and a less inefficient product: ” They can [make up] exactly how much they desire; theyre not buying a jar thats already loaded with water,” says Ford.

Plastic-free and absolutely no waste are excellent buzzwords– they make people aware that there is a concern with waste

” The concept is that you buy them the very first time and then in subsequent purchases you simply purchase the glass bottle with the aluminium cover,” she states.

” Plastic-free and no waste are great buzzwords since they make people aware on a day-to-day basis that there is an issue to do with our waste. Which is an actually easy way for people to think of sustainability in the more comprehensive sense.”

Zero waste, with its undertone that every opportunity to remove or decrease packaging has actually been taken, and that business behind these products line up to a higher values, is rapidly increasing to buzzword status. But Lee-Smith doesnt see this as an unfavorable thing.

Main image: Autumn Goodman

If there was a troop of comic book design villains who represented the dangers facing life on Earth, a plastic overlord would likely be among them. Almost 50 per cent of cosmetics packaging is made of plastic, and the market is actively searching for alternatives, particularly those brands with a more natural or ethical ethos. In the quest to be as sustainable as possible, remarkably, Lee-Smith does still utilize some plastic. While claims such as plastic-free and no waste sound quite remarkable from a marketing and eco qualifications point of view, the most sustainable, or useful, choice may not be to give up plastic completely. The only plastic product packaging in Lee-Smiths line is the cover of her pipettes for face and hair serums.

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