Green is the new black. Cosmetic and personal care companies are increasing investment in order to reduce their environmental footprint by embracing greener formulations and sustainable packaging.
As packaging has the highest environmental footprint of cosmetic products it makes sense that is where the companies would invest the most. But is that the case? While cosmetic firms are focusing on green formulations most are lagging in adopting sustainable packaging and reducing their packaging footprint.
Nevertheless, some companies have successfully implemented eco-friendly practices by utilizing biodegradable plastics, recycled materials and assumed innovative ways to reduce packaging. Additionally, they are focusing on resource efficiency and life-cycle assessments of their products when developing sustainability plans.
Although natural and organic product companies are typically pioneers in eco-friendly practices, larger conventional firms are stealing the limelight by more aggressive communication of their corporate social responsibility and sustainability activities.
Aveda is leading by example. Aveda has prioritized sustainable packaging and is the largest user of PCR plastic in the beauty industry, saving over 1 million pounds of virgin plastic each year. It has also recycled 37 million polypropylene caps through its ‘Recycle Caps with Aveda’ campaign. Its products now contain 80% or more recycled materials. Aveda has also reduced carbon emissions by using wind energy to power its Minnesota manufacturing plant.
However, cosmetic and personal care companies have a long history of environmentally unfriendly practices to make up for. Now, almost all packaging firms offer green solutions: from lightweight containers to products made of recyclable materials, PCR plastics or glass, biopolymers or natural sustainable materials such as bamboo. So, the excuses are running out.
Nonetheless, the technological advancement of bio-plastics needs to continue in order to supply packaging that will meet the needs of all product types. Currently, creams, lotions and shampoos are prevented from using biopolymer packaging due to high heat sensitivity and water permeability.
The once ‘green’ fad has become the norm. And as more and more companies strive to attract environmentally conscious consumers they will help reduce the health and beauty industry’s environmental footprint.
Are you thinking about going green? Just remember these three words: reduce, reuse, recycle.