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17 Apr 6:00am

How green is your lipstick: beauty brands and the fight against plastic waste

The Guardian
Makeup and personal care companies produce a huge amount of packaging – much of which cannot be recycled. But companies such as Lush and Garnier are trying to do better We have all done some soul-searching over the volume of single-use plastics passing through our kitchens, but while we may now be washing our yoghurt pots and reusing our shopping bags, our beauty and personal care products are a different story. Chances are, most of the colourful tubes, bottles and pots that line your bathroom shelves are made of plastic. And in the majority of cases, even if you do attempt to recycle them, they’re destined for landfill. Put simply, just because your shampoo bottle is recyclable doesn’t mean it will be recycled. According to the recycling company TerraCycle, the global cosmetics industry produces 120bn units of packaging every year, and few are accepted by kerbside recycling programmes. “Many of the design technologies that make personal care and beauty products so squeezable, twistable, portable and generally easy to use render them difficult to recycle,” says its European head of communications, Stephen Clarke. “The more complex or costly the packaging, the harder it is to collect, separate and recycle. As a result, it makes it more economically viable to simply trash it than put forth the resources to recover it.”
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