When shopping for skincare products, we research and investigate ingredients to find out which formula will be least harmful to our health. But is the same consideration given to how that product will impact the environment? More and more, brands are starting to focus on eco-friendly packaging for skincare products that is less harmful, zero-waste or eco-friendly in some form. Here’s everything you need to know to become a more conscious consumer.
What is Eco-friendly Packaging?
Eco-friendly packaging for skincare products focuses on whether the container holding the skincare formula is biodegradable, made from recycled materials or is recyclable itself. This can be a challenge as the products need to be kept safe, clean and undisturbed from the packaging.
Biodegradable packaging for skincare products come with their own challenges. The materials need to maintain stability for products that contain water or oils. The reality is that the cosmetics themselves could start to prematurely breakdown the packaging and lead to shorter shelf life.
Glass and metal containers, however, are fully recyclable. These are wonderful options to look for when it comes to products. The challenge tends to be the pumps. These are usually a combination of plastic with metal springs and, of course, can be attached to a metal or glass bottle. In some ways, eco-friendly packaging for beauty products can also help customers avoid certain chemicals if that’s a concern.
In recent years there has been some concern over whether the chemicals in plastic packaging can be harmful to our health. Think BPA and phthalates. These chemicals are thought to be endocrine disruptors and possible carcinogens.
What are the eco-friendly packaging materials?
The best option is “no-waste” packaging, which doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of packaging altogether. Technically ‘no waste’ is meant to refer to products where no portion is sent to landfills, oceans or incinerated. People think of it as a ‘waste-management’ goal to minimize the amount of waste produced.
Packaging options that can be recycled include biodegradable paper or cardboard, metal containers, and glass bottles and jars. The biodegradable paper, coated with potato and corn is often used for the boxes and outer packaging of the products.
Why eco-friendly packaging for skincare products is important?
Eco-friendly packaging for skincare products has become an important issue for many green-conscious consumers. We all know how much waste there is from just one beauty product. The box comes in followed by the container itself (at the very least). Only a small portion of the product you get off the shelf is actually usable. Sustainable packaging can cut down on harmful chemicals in our environment and reduce the amount of discarded plastic — the EPA estimates that only 9.5% of discarded plastic was recycled in 2014.
Also, have you ever used a product that comes in a container that feels impossible to empty? Does it seem like it was designed to stop your fingers from getting out every last bit? The reality is that some products just make it too difficult to get out the last drops. This is not good for our skincare budget and not good for the environment. Although bottles with pumps can help us measure out the exact amount needed for daily use, it may make sense to either choose products available in jars or open-top containers that give you the ability to access the products. The pump in many products (think moisturizers, hand soaps, some shampoos, etc.) are meant to make it easier to pump out the exact amount of product needed and to keep the product ‘clean’ by reducing our hand contact and minimizing bacterial exposure.
Adding Oxygreen biodegradable plastic additive to packaging accelerates its biodegradation and makes it less harmful.