Here’s Applauding Brands That Are Going The Eco-Friendly Packaging Way

Yes, we’re using World Environment Day to talk about the growing pains of plastic waste and the growing conversation around eco-friendly packaging in the beauty industry. BTW, we should be talking about it every day, but here we are. It doesn’t help that in our race for ‘empties’ in the beauty and skincare world, we’re carelessly disposing off dozens and dozens of bottles, tubs and tubes that probably have no way of being recycled. 

We’re definitely cheering on brands that are eliminating animal testing, unethical sourcing of ingredients, toxic chemicals and more, but plastic waste still remains a huge problem. What’s heartening to see is that many brands are making some serious effort at going plastic-free, offering refillable packaging or maintaining their eco-friendly packaging. 

Let’s take a look at some of these…

Recycle, Refill, Repeat!

Over the last few years, L’Occitane has been doing its bit for the environment with its Big Little Things recycling programme and eco-refill packaging. The brand is working in partnership with a social enterprise, Saahas Zero Waste for its Big Little Things programme, where you can now recycle your empties at select L’Occitane boutiques across India. L’Occitane eco-refills are made with clever designs which are easy to pour and replenish. Thanks to the Eco-Refills, the brand saves up to 80% of the plastic used for the original product. 

Moreover, a large part of the brand’s packaging is made with recycled materials or uses resources that are renewable. The brand also strives to minimise the carbon footprint by limiting the use of air transport and promoting the use of renewable energies. 

Another brand that has moved to eco-friendly packaging over the years is The Body Shop India which aims for all its packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2030. It has also launched campaigns such as The Body Shop Plastic For Change Initiative, and The Body Shop Return, Recycle, Repeat  Initiative, with a goal of launching this RRR program in all of its India stores by this month. 

Under its pilot launch in select stores, the brand has already recycled 30,000+ plastic bottles and has pledged to recycle at least 1 million by 2024. By working with their Community Fair Trade partner Plastics For Change (PFC), The Body Shop is also sourcing recyclable plastic waste from waste pickers and recycling this plastic to create product packaging. In 2019 alone, the brand purchased 250 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic from this initiative and used it in nearly three million 250ml haircare bottles. 

On the same lines, Kiehl’s India has also devised a programme to get consumers to kickstart their sustainability journey. As part of the Recycle & Be Rewarded Programme, all Kiehl’s stores have a recycle box where they can take their empty product containers for recycling. They are rewarded for taking this step and earn points that can later be accumulated and redeemed for Kiehl’s products. Late last year, the brand also launched a refillable one-litre pouch of their popular body moisturiser Creme De Corps, with the packaging made of consumer recycled plastic.

weDo/ Professional’s products are not only approved by the Vegan Society and Cruelty Free International but their packaging is also made with recycled and recyclable plastics, refill solutions as well as no plastic alternatives such as the Moisture & Shine No Plastic Shampoo Bar with an outer packaging made from FSC certified cardboard made with 100% recycled material and is recyclable.

With these global beauty brands, homegrown labels have also contributed to sustainability ethos with their safe-for-environment packaging initiative. Between 2017 and 2018, Indian luxury skincare brand Forest Essentials moved to completely recyclable packaging with PET and glass to reduce our use of virgin plastic packaging. The outer packaging has always been in biodegradable cartons made of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper, while recyclable air-filled paper pouches or paper cushions are used for products inside the cartons for orders placed online via the brand’s website instead of plastic bubble wrap.

Similarly, contemporary Ayurveda brand Kama Ayurveda uses recycled plastic, cardboard boxes, aluminium tins, etc. that are non-contaminating, thereby reducing plastic in landfills.

Other Indian brands such as Bare Necessities, Indulgeo Essentials, The Switch Fix, Arani Ecosteps, and Tvachamrit all follow the zero-waste, plastic-free policy with their eco-friendly products and packaging for their ranges of body care, skincare, and home care products. Glass bottles, refillable packaging, paper, cardboard, wood, tin and aluminium all come into play, leaving no space whatsoever for plastics.

While the beauty brands are amping up their efforts towards safer packaging practices, the role of beauty conglomerates like Unilever is also worth a note. The packaging for Unilever’s Love Beauty & Planet hair and body care ranges are made from 100% recycled plastic and is also recyclable. The brand claims to have saved the equivalent of 730 kg of plastic waste in the last one year by using recycled PCR plastic.

Juice Beauty is contributing to a ‘clean’ skincare routine—from sustainable, recyclable packaging to safe, nontoxic products. For many products, the brand uses recyclable glass and FSC paper. Forty per cent of its products, including the Green Apple + Prebiotix Collections are in sustainable glass, while a majority of its tubes have been converted to Bio-Resin helping reduce its carbon footprint. The brand’s goal is to eliminate virgin plastic altogether by 2025. 

New To The Eco-Friendly Packaging Movement

Inspired by nature, Kiko Milano’s new Green Me Collection is eco-friendly, being formulated with up to 98% of ingredients derived from raw materials of natural origin. Product packaging is made from recycled or recyclable materials to minimise environmental impact. 

Colorbar recently launched a new patented Vegan Nail Lacquer with a formula that is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and free from animal-derived pigments. The brand has also replaced 100% plastic caps with bio-safe, eco-friendly and sustainable caps made of 50% wood to reduce and control plastic waste.

With these Indian brands, another global beauty brand Schwarzkopf Professional has taken noteworthy steps to combat the issue of plastic generated by the beauty industry. Its Igora Royal colour brand last year underwent a complete re-stage with its sustainable packaging and simplified range assortments. The brand now uses 100% recycled aluminium tube, 100% recycled plastic for the cap, and a minimum of 92% recycled cardboard for the outside folding box.

While beauty brands are doing their best, we cannot ignore the fact that celebrity-owned brands have a larger impact. Using it to the benefit of the planet, Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics uses only recycled, recyclable, refillable or biodegradable material in the primary and secondary packaging, whenever possible, for all product launches since 2021 on. The brand also has refillable options when possible like Turmeric Glow Moisturizer with a refill pod.


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It’s a long journey ahead but times are changing and beauty brands are pushing boundaries and starting a conversation around safer and sustainable packaging practices. While brands are doing their bit, are consumers shouldering the responsibility? This World Environment Day, we are leaving you with this thought.

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