There are plenty of statistics about the damage we are doing to our planet, but perhaps the most shocking is this: in 2050, there will be more plastic (by weight) in the oceans than fish.
The cosmetic industry is the biggest utiliser of single-use plastic. Zero Waste reported that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, most of which are not recyclable. Fortunately, lots of players in the beauty industry are looking at ways to come up with more sustainable alternatives.
What are they doing?
Caudalie uses post-consumer recycled plastic and sugar cane packaging. Voya uses packaging made from seaweed pulp. 40% of the plastic used by Comfort Zone is recycled or bio-based. Vinoble’s line is made of glass, wood and fabric.
Eminence Organics have planted over 12 million trees as part of their Our Forests for the Future programme where they plant one for each product sold. Not only are they contributing to a greener planet, but they are equipping developing countries to grow their own food.
Tata Harper packaging using predominantly glass and what little plastic they do use is as eco-friendly as possible. The plastic resin for their tubes is derived from corn and they always use 100% post-consumer materials or recycled paperboard.
What are we doing?
At Irene Forte Skincare, we are also doing what we can to minimise our contribution to the crisis. However, finding sustainable alternatives for packaging can be complex and costly.
We currently use glass bottles and jars for 90% of our products. This is, of course, more expensive than plastic versions. It also adds a lot of cost in delivery weight. We do have a handful of products in plastic; these are the ones that simply cannot be in glass packaging. They include our sun protection range, our Apricot Shower Oil and our Lavender & Rosemary Foam Cleanser.
In the case of the cleanser, the plastic bottle enables the product to work correctly by creating the foam - this special bottle does not exist on the market in glass yet.
As a small brand, it can be difficult to have an ‘eco-friendly’ stance. For example, bioplastic and post-consumer recycled plastics are a more costly option and the minimum quantities are still incredibly high. For our first production run, these quantities weren’t a realistic option. Aluminium is another clever alternative; it is light, protects the product and is recyclable. However, it is even more expensive than glass.
Most of our ingredients are home-grown and hand-picked at Verdura Resort’s Organic Farm. Anything that cannot come from our farm, we source from farmers in the Trentino area where our lab is based. The properties of plants and fruits are incredible; we strive to nurture and protect nature’s growth rather than destroy it.
Our products are made, by hand, in small batches. By staying true to our Italian roots and keeping all elements of production in Italy, we are also reducing our brand’s carbon footprint.
As we grow, we are able to make more impactful changes as a company. For now, we do what we can. We do not use plastic wrapping on our boxes, we do not add additional paper inserts, and our boxes are made out of 100% recycled fibres, with natural vegetable and soya-based inks. For our second production run, our plastics will be post-consumer recycled, including lids, overcaps, and spatulas. Whilst this will take another six months, we are moving in the right direction.
With more awareness than ever and a spotlight on our planet, it seems that lots of brands are taking the right steps.
Perhaps if we all do what we can, we will turn that statistic around.