The problems that come with beauty waste, not its packaging
What you will learn:
- The problem behind beauty waste
- How to cut down cosmetic waste
- How useful cosmetic waste can be recycled
- How cosmetic waste can be re-used and recycled
When I discovered about beauty waste I was horrified. Beauty waste is not only about the packaging, but the actual products themselves. Most waste discussion has been about packaging, but same as fast fashion industry, 20 to 40% of beauty products are thrown away because they are expired, discontinued, or simply you didn’t finish them all. Many large retailers and online shops won’t share figures on unsold inventory or returned products...
You won't believe how easy it is to reduce your beauty waste but read on and discover 5 simple ways to do it.
Understanding beauty’s waste problem
Beauty is a $445 billion industry, and it’s growing every year. But behind all those products, packaging and advertising lies a dirty secret. It has become an environmental disaster.
The U.S. produces more than 3 million tons of trash from beauty products each year. That’s about the same weight as 1 million elephants — or two Statues of Liberty.
Beauty products packaging is one of the most difficult items to recycle because of the contamination with the product, and the multiple materials combined.
Most of that waste ends up in landfills, where it releases toxic pollutants into the air, water and soil. Also, a large portion of it ends up in rivers, the bottom of oceans and other places we can’t see. The plastics floating in the ocean that we can collect is only 0.5% of entire plastics in the ocean.
How to cut down cosmetic waste
Here are 5 ways in which you can cut down cosmetic waste today:
1. Buy fewer products
The average American woman uses 9 to 12 personal care products each day, adding up to more than 4 pounds of personal care items per year! This includes everything from shampoo and conditioner to deodorant and makeup. It's easy to see how this adds up quickly, especially when you consider that each product comes with its own packaging. The easiest way to cut down on cosmetic waste is simply by using fewer products in general. Look for multi-tasking products such as scrub body wash, loose pigments, and multi-purpose moisturizer.
2. Do your research
There are new products released all the time and we have so many options to choose from. It is so tempting to try new ones even though the product inside a beautiful package is same as the one you already have in your bathroom. It is true that you will not 100% sure if the product works for you or not until you try. But we suggest you to check at least the ingredients list and understand what the possible benefits you could expect. Also think twice if you are attracted only by the pretty package. The pretty looking package will not matter after a couple of days.
3. Make use of samples
If you want to try out new products without committing to buying them in full size, then ask for samples when shopping for cosmetics online or in stores. You can also ask for sample boxes from brands that offer them as these are useful for trying out multiple products at once.
4. Use up what you have before purchasing more
There is nothing wrong with having a few backups of products that you are sure to use but there are other items you will use less often. We tend to buy too much when they are on sale regardless how much you can use. Then you don’t finish before they expire or lose their effectiveness over time. To avoid this, make sure to use up your stash first before buying more so that nothing goes to waste!
5. Buy only what you need
Take a look in your makeup bag and bathroom cabinet once in a while and understand what products you actually use. When you go shopping, avoid buying more of those items that you hadn’t used.
How useful cosmetic waste can be when recycled
The demand for cosmetics has been increasing because more people are spending more time and money on their appearance. This means that there's a growing need for raw materials used in making cosmetic products such as plastic bottles and aluminium cans.
The recycling process can be beneficial to both the environment and the economy. Here are some ways how:
It reduces our dependence on fossil fuels
Recycling plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes and other waste materials into new ones reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. When we recycle these items, they need to mine less from the earth or processed with chemicals that pollute the environment. This is especially important now that we know how harmful mining operations can be to our health and environment.
It helps reduce our carbon footprint
When we recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans, we're saving energy by not having to make new ones from scratch or even melt down old ones into new ones again. It also means that fewer trees have to be cut down for paper production and less electricity needs.
How cosmetic waste can be re-used and recycled
Soap – Soaps can be recycled after processing to disinfect. They can be melted and made into new bars!
Lipstick – Lipstick can be melted down and used as a base for other cosmetics or candles. It can also be used as a pigment for paint or ink.
Perfume – Many perfume contains alcohol, which is extremely flammable when exposed to air or heat sources. If your perfume bottle is not empty, you should try finding your local hazardous waste disposal service or use it to freshen up your room and car.
Since we are a society so concerned with beauty, it seems inevitable that cosmetic waste will be an issue we face. Hopefully this makes people more aware of the environmental consequences of their beauty habits.
The major problems with cosmetic waste come from improper storage and disposal, not from manufacturing or wearing makeup.