In this article, I will explain eco-friendly packaging and dive deep into the benefits and the future of sustainable packaging for skincare. The beauty industry is ever-evolving, and so is the packaging. Sustainability is a hot topic because the research and reports of plastic in remote and untouched environments in Antarctica are concerning; I suppose it could be aliens… But failing that, we are all responsible for this earth and must change our ways to take care of it.
Eco-friendly packaging for cosmetics is an essential part of the plan to save our waterways and oceans from more pollution.
But how do I make the best decision that is convenient for me and great for the environment? This article will help you be more informed and look for these indicators when shopping for your loved products…. if this interests you, then read on!
What is Eco-Friendly packaging?
Eco-friendly packaging is made from recycled materials and is biodegradable.
Why do we use eco-friendly packaging?
Governments in Europe and worldwide signed up to The 2 Degrees Paris Agreement. The two-degree target is the international climate policy goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius by 2100 compared to the pre-industrialisation level.
There are many environmental factors that governments must consider, and one of them is pollution, and the fact that waste makes it into our waterways does not help achieve this goal. We need to reduce waste by using biodegradable products with eco-friendly packaging.
Benefits of eco-friendly packaging for skincare
Due to the Paris Agreement, Governments worldwide are independently putting together legislation that will reduce the amount of plastic the beauty industry uses.
CMS Law has an up-to-date guide on the legal requirements for packaging in the German industry. Eco-friendly packaging, such as recycled materials or reusable containers, has a few benefits:
- Cuts back on the cost of goods
- Decreases garbage dumped in landfills
- Reduces the number of disposable plastics released into the environment
- Motivating people to lead an environmentally conscientious and sustainable life
How does recycled packaging cut back on the cost of goods?
Annually, Germany produces 30 million tons of waste. A unique recycling program, the Green Dot system, has been particularly successful and has effectively reduced the amount of packaging used.
It requires that manufacturers and retailers pay a fee for the “Green Dot” trademark to be placed on their products; the more packaging, the higher the charge. But of course, if you are motivated to use less packaging for your product, then naturally long term, you pay less to package it.
Keep an eye out for it with your next purchase!
How has this led to a decrease in the amount of rubbish in our landfill?
The Green Dot Project has caused a decrease in the use of paper, glass, and metal, leading to less garbage being recycled or delivered to landfill. It has contributed to a dramatic drop of roughly one million tons of waste yearly.
How do microplastics get into the environment?
When people discard plastic in the trash instead of recycling it, it often winds up in a landfill. But since plastic is so lightweight, it is susceptible to being carried away easily by the wind. The plastic accumulates around drains and eventually makes its way into rivers and the ocean.
Litter dropped on the ground is also a significant source of plastic pollution. Rainwater and wind blow it into streams and rivers and through drains, which all lead to the sea. Additionally, improper waste disposal, such as illegal dumping, is a significant cause of the plastic crisis in our oceans.
Many items that people use daily, such as wet wipes, cotton buds, sanitary products, and even microfibers from our clothes (released during washing), leave our house as wastewater and eventually end up in the food chain.
How does this motivate me to lead a more sustainable life?
The above should explain the direct impact we have on our environment. Recycling your household rubbish, buying biodegradable products (including clothes) and ensuring that you source ethically made products must be the usual way of life in the future.
Making these subtle changes in your life can and does impact the rest of the world.
examples of sustainable skincare packaging,
Bamboo packaging is an excellent choice for eco-friendly packaging, as it is lightweight, durable, 100% biodegradable and sustainable. Guinness World Records states that the world record for the fastest-growing plant belongs to certain species of the 45 genera of bamboo, which grows up to 91 cm (35 in) per day!! That is nuts, but what does this mean?
Bamboo is versatile and can be used for many products; it is an excellent replacement for wood or plastic containers. It is being grown successfully in Bamboo farms around Europe. Buying bamboo from remote places only contributes to carbon emissions, so it is better to purchase bamboo products made closer to home.
Paper and cardboard packaging are, of course, biodegradable and recyclable. Paper packaging is an excellent choice for eco-friendly packaging, as it can be easily customised and printed with branding. There are plenty of recycled options. We wrap all of our soaps using BIOzoyg wrapping paper. If you look at their shop, they also have some gorgeous plates.
Eco-Friendly Glass and Tin
Finally, glass packaging and tin are excellent choices for eco-friendly packaging. Glass packaging is durable, recyclable and easily customised with branding. Tin products are also lightweight, recyclable and durable.
The one problem I have with glass and tin is that glass bottles usually need a plastic lid, and tin usually needs stickers that sometimes have plastic. But there have been technological enhancements recently in biodegradable polymers. This is truly exciting for the business, and I'll talk more about it in the next section.
The future of sustainable packaging for skincare
Microplastics have been found deep in our oceans, affecting marine wildlife and our planet. With governments due to miss the 2-degree Climate target, they are changing tactics. Companies have to get more innovative by using less “single-use” packaging.
There are alternatives to plastic, and according to Science Direct, these degradable plastics can be divided into four groups: compostable plastics, photodegradable plastics, bio-based plastics and biodegradable plastics. I'll have to create another blog post for that.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a type of plastic derived from renewable, organic sources such as corn starch, Potato starch or sugar cane.
My husband is an engineer and loves making things with his two 3D printers, like soap dishes. But most 3D printers melt plastic to make another form. However, we have found an innovative company which binds PLA (biodegradable plastic made from corn starch or sugars) and wood to make a filament (something you print with).
This means that we are now printing our soap dishes in fully biodegradable wood.
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA): is a type of plastic that some bacteria can make. They store this plastic inside their cells so they can use it later for energy. It is like a tiny granule inside the cell.
This PHA is the closest we have come to replicating plastic, a petroleum single-use product. Think about that. Plastic that our parents and grandparents threw away is still in a landfill!
In a nutshell
The solutions are there, we can create fully biodegradable packaging, and I can see some brilliant companies starting to venture into this area. But we as consumers must demand more from the companies and products we love to make a difference.
In 2008, the world made 245 million tons of plastic and 390.7 million tons in 2021. Scientists think this amount will triple by 2050, using up one-fifth of all the oil in the world.
Until now, It has been perfectly acceptable to add plastic fillers to cosmetics and put them onto your skin. But with the world set to miss its climate target in the Paris Agreement and increase the pollution and the destruction of species. It is our responsibility to the stewardship of this planet, so we must change our shopping habits.
If you're looking for sustainable eco-bathroom products, head to my shop for some great options.