Beauty products aren’t always single use, but plenty of it still ends up in landfill when it reaches the end of its life. But what if it doesn’t have to? Closing the loop means that the full life cycle of a product, including packaging, is accounted for. Whether it’s recycling packaging, sourcing ingredients locally, or reducing waste, there are so many ways beauty brands can reduce their footprint and close the loop. Here are a few that are making great strides in that direction:
LUSH is perhaps the most well-known beauty brand for closing the loop. With a mission to make all their products packaging-free in the future, for now, they take back any packaging (usually the black containers and lids) that can’t be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin. The best news is that when you bring back five containers, you get a free face mask! By doing this LUSH are ensuring that any plastic they create can be turned into new packaging for new products later and none goes to waste in landfill.
UpCircle is a UK brand that’s just launched in Australia and their mission is simple: elevate leftover natural ingredients and give them a second life in beauty products. Their skincare range uses repurposed coffee grounds from cafes and chai spices from Henny and Joe’s chai syrup to create cruelty-free and natural scrubs and serums. Not only are all their products are 100% palm oil-free, their packaging is also low waste and fully recyclable in the UK (fingers crossed Australia starts soon!).
This local Aussie brand is passionate about reducing plastic and their packaging is eco-friendly (their deodorants and body bars come in cardboard tubes that can be composted for example) and when creating their goodies they make sure every bit of fabric is repurposed, rescued, composted or recycled. Wanderlightly also source their ingredients locally to cut down on their carbon footprint and support local business, and they UpCycle everything that enters their workshop in line with circular economy principles.
These guys have closed the loop completely on their packaging thanks to their refill program. The way it works is simple; you buy a deodorant stick or mouthwash bottle once, and then only purchase the refills. This cuts way down on packaging! They also have shampoo bars and cotton swabs in a cardboard tube with cardboard sticks - genius! Sadly By Humankind haven’t expanded to Australia yet but their zero-waste philosophy is amazing.
When it comes to makeup there can be a lot of waste, but Elate Cosmetics has created sustainable packaging options. Everything they do comes down to ethics (in marketing, for people’s health and for the planet) and their products come in bamboo compacts that can be kept and refilled with new shades, plus the paper envelope they are sent in can be planted in the garden and herbs or flowers will grow from it! There are a few stockists in Australia at the moment, but the main site also ships internationally.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop may not be the first beauty brand that springs to mind when you think about closing the loop, but they have a commitment to return, recycle, repeat - an in-store recycling program similar to LUSH. They team up with TerraCycle® to make sure all plastic gets a new life, and you get a reward of $5 on your member's card for every five products you return. Not only are they ensuring plastic is reused, but they also do a self-audited sustainability report every year about how they’re tracking in various areas to being fully sustainable.
Danielle Kirk is a travel addict, fashionista and zero waste enthusiast. When she isn't getting lost hiking in NSW's Royal National Park or researching zero waste hacks you'll find her cuddled up with a book and her cat, Xander. But it doesn't stop there she's also the founder of April to August.