Consumers are more conscious of their purchasing choices, often preferring brands that have the interests of the environment as part of its core values. The beauty industry has long been a silent contributor to waste around the world- after all, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, so there’s a lot of waste to go around. Many brands, being aware of this, have opted to include sustainable elements in their products, from the packaging to the ingredients. The industry may not single-handedly end climate change but it is more important to do something now than nothing at all. Earth.Org has put together a list of 12 of the best sustainable beauty brands.
REN has made a commitment to zero waste by this year, through eliminating unnecessary packaging and stopping sample sachets and using recycled ocean plastic in packaging.
Aveda produces vegan beauty products and was the first beauty company to use post-consumer recycled materials in packaging. Further, the brand has raised USD$60 million for environmental initiatives since 1999.
Lush has long been a champion for sustainability, with 90% of its packaging being recycled, including plastic and paper that’s 100% PCR. Half of its products need no packaging at all, such as its bath bombs, and its Naked shop in Manchester is England’s first plastic packaging-free cosmetics shop.
The packaging of this brand is made from recyclable glass, not plastic. The products are also made without fossil fuel industry derivatives and byproducts.
- Giorgio Armani
One of the few luxury brands on this list of sustainable cosmetics, in 2010, the brand developed its Acqua for Life initiative, which supports UNICEF’s efforts to ensure that children have access to safe and clean water. The initiative has invested nearly £7 million in projects around the world, bringing water to nearly 200 000 people.
Another luxury brand, L’Occitane has never given out plastic bags in-store and recycling since the 90s. By reducing the thickness of packaging, the brand has saved 28 tonnes of plastic and by 2025, it wants all its bottles to be of 100% recycled plastic and every store to offer recycling.
The brand is a part of the Plastic Odyssey challenges, which will see a boat powered by plastic waste collected on its voyage, visit three continents to raise awareness about plastic waste in the oceans, while education about the potential to recycle plastics into fuel. Clarins’ Paris HQ has three hives with 160 000 bees.
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The brand has a recycling scheme that invites customers to take empty packaging from any brand to UK counters to be washed, shredded and turned into plastic pellets, which can be used in new packaging to street signs. The Return to Origins scheme has processed more than 1.2 tonnes of empties since 2010.
More than 75% of Weleda’s plant ingredients come from biodynamic or organic farming, or controlled wild collection. Weleda is one of only two beauty brands to carry Union for Ethical BioTrade and none of its packaging contains any form of plastic.
- Axiology Natural Organic Lipstick
Besides having a zero tolerance policy for palm oil and animal testing, the brand provides financial support to the Orangutan Foundation International where funds are used to save and rehabilitate orangutans from the effects of the palm oil industry. Further, it sources its shea butter and moringa oil through fair trade channels.
- The Body Shop
The Body Shop uses Community Trade recycled plastic from India, empowering the workers who pick up rubbish and providing them more sanitary working conditions and a fair working salary. In the store, you can return your empty plastic and glass tubs, pots, tubes and bottles for recycling.
- Burt’s Bees
Last on our list of sustainable beauty brands, Burt’s Bees works with TerraCycle and has launched two recycling programmes to combat product packaging waste.
The brand is a vocal advocate for sustainability, and ensures the use of recycled aluminium and post-consumer recycled paper printed with vegetable-based dyes.
- UpCircle Beauty
UpCircle takes everything from coffee grounds to fruit stones, and repurposes them into sustainable beauty products, working with coffee shops and grocery stores.
- Tata Harper
The brand values sustainability, and considers it in every aspect of the product line, from raw materials (renewable, GMO-free and many grown on the brand owner’s farm), to production (most are handmade in small batches on the premises, all using environmentally friendly processes), to bottles (any plastic is made from corn-derived resin). All paper and card is recycled and printed with soy ink.