A product's ingredients are super important, but what about what they're packaged in? That matters too! Little of the plastic used to house makeup and skincare products is recyclable, and most of it ends up in landfills. There, it will sit for years and take nearly 1,000 years to decompose. That's why it's so important to think about sustainability: Not just about product ingredients, but product packaging too.
Why Most Packaging is Wasteful
"Packaging" is in reference to both how a product itself is packaged, and how/what it's shipped in. Take a look at your beauty products: Do they come in a plastic tube? Are their containers plastic? Can you identify which kind of plastic? Was it shipped with Styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap? All these questions are important to ask because plastic is becoming an epidemic.
Companies are hooked on plastic because it's so cheap to make and convenient to use. Sadly, that obsession has led humans to create over 8.3 billion tons of plastic on this Earth. Worse yet, only 9% of that plastic is actually recycled.
How does that translate to packaging? Well, think about this: The average woman in the US uses 12 products daily on her body. There's a high chance those products are contained in plastic (plastic eyeshadow cases, shampoo bottles, etc.), and were also shipped using some form of plastic (bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, etc.). Not to mention most beauty product sets come in plastic clamshell packaging inside a cardboard box.
Since only 9% of all plastic is actually recycled, this means almost all 12 of those plastic beauty and hygiene products, and their packaging plastic, will probably end up at a landfill. Considering there are approximately 3,749,259,956 (49.6%) women in the world, that's a huge amount of waste. It doesn't even take into account what grooming products men use on their bodies!
Obviously, recycling isn't the answer (at least when it comes to plastic). That's because plastic is hard to recycle: There are too many forms of plastic (seven types of plastic in total), and too many regulations that vary from start to state.
Plant Makeup: Eco-Friendly Packaging
In contrary, glass, metal, and paper are pretty straight forward when it comes to recycling: There's no limit to how many times they can be recycled. That's why Plant Makeup utilizes more glass, metal, and compostable (paper) packaging in their products than plastic. All the products can be reused, composted, or even recycled relatively easily. We encourage you to fill empty products with DIY concoctions of your own, or (if it's compostable) find a drop-off location (ex: farmers market) near you that accepts compostable items.
Plant Makeup also uses Eco Enclose, an eco-friendly packaging company, to ship out products. Instead of plastic, shipping packaging includes tissue, paper and cardboard made from recycled materials. Some packages may also contain biodegradable packing peanuts made from organic corn and potato starch. All the packages are sealed using biodegradable tape too.
We hope this inspires you to support more brands (like Plant Makeup!) who use eco-friendly packaging. Just remember: Packaging matters.
Plant Makeup Bag $22
Written by our earth love guest contributor Ariana Palmieri
Ariana Palmieri is a green beauty blogger who strives to live as eco-friendly as possible. In July 2015 she started her blog, Greenify-Me, to document her own journey with eco-friendly products, makeup, and the environment. The site features beauty product reviews, natural DIYs, healthy recipes, and more.