The Excessive Waste Caused by the Beauty Industry

Last updated on: 2020


The Beauty Industry’s Waste

How Wasteful is the Cosmetic Industry?

Have you been trying to become more of a conscious shopper, but not sure what the next step is? Try taking a look at your makeup station. Beauty purchases can be detrimental to your carbon footprint.

We’ll explore some ways to shop eco-friendlier!

In order to understand why shopping sustainably is incredibly important (especially when it comes to beauty), we need to establish some facts and figures. From the cosmetic industry alone, 120 Billion units of packaging were sent to a landfill in 2018, according to Zero Waste Week. Even despite our best efforts, 70% of beauty packaging still ends up in a landfill. To prevent this huge waste, consumers must make more environment-friendly decisions.

What defines a sustainable brand?

There are many different facets that go into having a sustainable brand. There’s thoughtful packaging—a lack of environmentally harmful chemicals. Natural products are much better for the environment, and sustainable sourcing of those ingredients.

As consumers use their voice to demand change from brands, we have seen many more companies than ever before make big changes. Beauty Retailers such as Sephora and Credo Beauty have committed to enforcing more sustainable practices. Sephora released its safer chemicals policy, which aims to reduce the nine most toxic chemicals by 50% within the next three years. This forces many of their brands to reformulate within the next three years or leave Sephora’s highly competitive shelf space. Credo Beauty has pushed their brands to create an ingredient transparency list, which is not currently required by the FDA. In these ways, retailers have made more sustainable switches for their business.

Looking to try out an environmentally friendly brand?

Consumers have also paved the way for new brands to begin and grow successfully through a sustainable platform. Some brands that have risen to fame from their sustainable formulas. Here are a few top sustainable brands organized by your favorite retailers.


  1. RMS Beauty
  2. Ilia Beauty
  3. Kosas
  4. Bite Beauty


  1. Eco tools
  2. Juice beauty
  3. W3ll People

More environmentally friendly brands to check out:

  1. Kjaer Weis
  2. Fat and the Moon
  3. Dirty Hippie Cosmetics

What can you do?

Once you’re finished with your next product, make sure you search for the best way to dispose of it. A general rule to follow is to empty and clean out the last of the product before tossing it in the recycling bin!

Next time you go shopping for a new product, try checking out products packaged in sustainable materials like glass, wood, or metal. You can read the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals (because why would you want those anyway!). Many retailers now even feature a clean beauty section of their website or store, so keep an eye out!

Looking to stay updated in all things beauty? Check out our Beauty category to read more!

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