While everyone is running in circles about fashion and it’s carbon emissions escalating the climate change crisis, beauty isn’t too far behind. The $25 billion packaging industry, which enables the beauty sector to boom, primarily consists of non-biodegradable plastic materials.
Micro-plastics like microbeads used in personal care products like exfoliators become part of the food chain in marine life or the aquatic ecosystem. They are practically impossible to fish out of the ocean. Perfumes and hair sprays contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which end up in the ozone layer, causing air pollution.
Here’s good news, though: as individuals, even though we can’t eliminate these products, we can choose to live consciously by making informed decisions about utilising our beauty waste and consuming sustainable clean alternatives. ELLE’s team shares their eco-friendly beauty habits, which will inspire you to make the switch right away.
Sonali Shah, Deputy Editor
I’m big on gardening and beauty, and manage to blend the two pretty well. My empty products jars are used as seed starters; they’re usually the perfect size for it. Larger plastic jars work as nice pots for seedlings. Glass jars get upcycled as vases and are placed all over the house, much to my mother’s annoyance!
Samreen Samad, Beauty and Health Editor
As a beauty editor, I am sent a lot of products that I need to try. Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t have eco-friendly packaging. But, I give the jars and containers a second life to store small jewellery or cotton pads (organic). The air-tight ones are used in the kitchen to store spices. A lot of beauty brands also offer to recycle old bottles. I always make it a point to collect and return them.
Gargi Agrawal, Digital Writer
While I am open to tons of homegrown beauty brands available in the market, my beauty cabinet has always gravitated towards simpler formulas. I make sure to stock up on products that are paraben-and sulphate-free, not tested on animals and are reusable in some way. I often store my DIY mists when the product runs empty in the containers. Another thing I keep in mind while making a beauty purchase is to buy products that will last me for a long time, because it helps me reduce my carbon footprint.
Isha Mayer, Digital Writer
As a person who likes DIY projects and getting crafty, I am genuinely fond of the idea of upcycling and repurposing products. I like to do it with my clothes, home decor, as well as a few cosmetic items. For instance, I love saving perfume bottles and using them as decor pieces in my room. They can also be converted into small vases, and it looks super pretty. I have switched from compact powders to liquid foundation off late, but instead of throwing my old compact, I still carry it with me because of the mirror, which is super useful when you want to throw on some last-minute makeup. And the empty space (where the powder used to be) is super helpful for storing safety pins and Bobby pins. Apart from that, I’m consciously trying to make a switch towards using natural, organic and cruelty-free beauty brands to lessen beauty pollution.