The Face of Change: Beauty Goes Green

By: Anneken Tappe · September 22, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

A Green Makeover

The beauty industry is getting a makeover. Environmental consciousness among consumers has ignited a movement toward sustainable practices, a notable change within an industry notorious for its waste generation. Consumers now favor beauty products with packaging that’s eco-friendly, easily recyclable, and part of a responsible supply chain.

Pretty Packaging, Ugly Truth

The beauty industry produces about 120 billion products annually, and the sector’s waste footprint is substantial. Many containers are not recyclable, and even the ones that are often get discarded.

Plastic containers and packaging (not just in the beauty industry) are an environmental concern, accounting for over 14.5 million tons in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency . The same year, the overall plastic recycling rate was a mere 8.7%.

Fortunately, consumers are pushing the needle toward change. Between 60% and 70% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainably packaged products, according to a 2020 McKinsey report. Companies are embracing this, leaning into clean, green product lines.

Redue, Reuse, Reinvest

In May, Sephora (LVMUY) launched “Beauty (Re)Purposed,” a collaboration with the nonprofit Pact Collective, aiming to simplify the recycling of beauty packaging in over 600 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Its competitor Nordstrom (JWN) is doing something similar.

Further bolstering industry efforts, tech startup Bluebird recently partnered with Pact, using AI software to assess the environmental impact of packaging across all Pact members — totaling over 150 beauty brands.

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