What Brands Are Doing Right + What They Need to Improve | A Focus On Waste

A range of items on a flat surface including UpCircle sachets, The Inkey List, and cotton rounds

Nowadays, brands are starting to catch on to the fact that many consumers would like our beauty products to come as eco-friendly as possible, whether that be in a cardboard box instead of plastic wrapping, or offering refills to stop the outer packaging being thrown out as soon as it’s finished. Some brands are doing great, whilst other brands still have a long way to go – hopefully the more we all push, the more good will come of it. I wanted to discuss what I think brands are doing well to be eco-friendly, and what they still need to do to improve their sustainability.

What Brands Need To Improve Upon

Many products often come in extra packing which can often be unnecessary, especially if the item doesn’t need more than one layer of protection. Most products are perfectly fine if they come in a cardboard box, yet sometimes brands opt for plastic shrink wrap instead, most often on liquid items in case they leak. Obviously this is understandable in the case of selling in physical shops, as it prevents customers from contaminating unused products or testing them out and ruining them. This is an area where things are less likely to progress anytime soon – however brands could easily stop using clear hard plastic packaging for items that could come in cardboard instead. In the case of makeup brushes this is also tricky, as hard plastic prevents them from being contaminated a lot more than any cardboard box could.

This leads me to my next point – items coming in extra packaging purely because it looks nicer. For me this mostly applies to Glossier and Zoeva, who both send their products in specially designed plastic cases which are definitely not necessary. I own a box, and two pink plastic bags from Glossier through purchasing products from their website, and whilst they are nice to have, I definitely would do not need anymore! This is something that prevented me from buying more from them for a while, however recently they implemented an option where you can opt out of receiving the plastic bag – woo! I think this is a great option, because if people have uses for them and know they will use them then they can choose to get another one, but for people like me who now have them sitting around without a use (but don’t want to get rid of them since they’re also very nice), we can just tick the box and receive out products without!

However, when it comes to Zoeva, I admit I have a problem. I absolutely love their brushes, and have tried their makeup too – but every time I buy a single brush, it comes in it’s own black bag that I now have at least five sitting in my drawer. Unlike with Glossier, I can’t opt out of them. Don’t get me wrong, they seem nicely made and are there to protect the brushes, but I don’t want them, or need them at all. It puts me off buying any more brushes as singles, yet I still want many more backups of my favourite ones. I might just have to buy a brush set instead, which I would be more than happy with because they are excellent quality, but those also come in their own makeup bags. I appreciate the lengths they are going to, but in some cases I just don’t think it’s needed, and I personally would love the option to not receive any more bags.

What Brands Are Doing Right

Now I want to delve into how brands are making efforts to recycle, and are including us as consumers in the process. I’m sure many people are aware of the Lush scheme where if you bring back five of their infamous black pots for them to recycle you’ll receive a free face mask – but did you know about other brands that recycle your items? One that I have not used yet but certainly will do is the Body Shop scheme, which acts in the same way as the Lush one, except when you return five items you’ll receive a £5 voucher assigned to your member account if you have one – simple as that! There are also other brands such as DECIEM that work with TerraCycle, a waste management company that aims to recycle products that are usually deemed as harder to recycle. They partner with certain brands to create free recycling programmes for a wide range of products such as coffee capsules, beauty products, crisp packets, and many more. I would definitely recommend checking their website out to see if you have any programmes near you – every little thing helps massively to combat our plastic problem!

Finally, I wanted to mention how you can help to recycle clothing. The main option I would highly recommend is donating to charity shops! They are always happy to receive donations of clothing, books, toys etc., and you’re helping to raise money for them whilst doing so. If you’re finding that some of your clothes are getting a bit tatty and worn out, you can either try fixing them up, or if they’re truly beyond repair, you can donate them to a recycling programme such as the one offered by H&M. I have taken bags of clothing to them many times now, and it is so easy to do if you have a store near where you live! Any pieces of clothing or fabric that have seen better days can be put into a bag, and for every bag you take into the store you’ll receive a £5 off voucher (of purchases £25 or more). They either Rewear (market as second-hand goods), Reuse (convert into new products such as cloths), or Recycle (broken down into fibres and used to make new materials). You can also donate through clothing banks or doorstop collections, but these aren’t always the most reliable options. 

Do you agree that some packaging is unnecessary? Have you tried any of these recycling schemes before? I want to hear from you!

As always,

Love, Emily x

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