Environmental Sustainability in the Cosmetics Industry


For as long as anyone can remember, people have discovered ways to improve their appearance. However, as various researches and developments have been made in the field of cosmetics, people have gradually moved from natural cosmetics to processed and packaged formulations.

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Impact of the Cosmetics Industry on the Environment

The cosmetics industry is growing at an unprecedented rate thanks to the emergence of customer-centric brands.

But there is a caveat: Innovative product options come with invisible environmental costs. Furthermore, the influx of new market entrants is stimulating these alternatives due to the ease of entry into the enterprise market, which is heavily influenced by technology, social media, digital marketing and other relevant factors.

Packaging waste

Packaging is more commercial and less practical in the cosmetics industry. For most cosmetics companies, however, packaging seems to be the top priority. The higher the face value of a cosmetic product, the more cumbersome and redundant the packaging can be, especially at a time when unboxing is a critical aspect of online shopping.

Cosmetic packaging is not always easy to recycle. Many of the boxes, bags, and containers that these products come in are made of a mix of materials. Separating the components is often a waste of time for recycling personnel, even when they can be separated.

Waste of Water

Water may not be the first ingredient that springs to mind when thinking of beauty treatments, but it is used in a wide variety of cosmetic products. From bath products and cleansers to lotions and creams, water dissolves ingredients that penetrate the skin.

In addition, with the growth of the world population, the rapid progress of the economy and the resulting mass consumption, the need for water is increasing at an alarming rate.

While agriculture uses most of the water, the personal care and cosmetics industry is an increasing contributor to this problem. As more and more people become aware of this problem, beauty brands are under increasing pressure to come up with long-term solutions.

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Coal Production

Cleaning products, printing inks, insecticides and wood finishes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pollute the air. VOCs can also be found in cosmetics such as perfumes, deodorants and hairsprays.

The study showed that these products contribute significantly to carbon emissions. In particular, emissions from households and cosmetic products account for half of the VOCs generated in no fewer than 33 major cities.

Fossil-derived ingredients used in cosmetics and packaging also contribute to the carbon footprint. Carbon pollution is also a serious concern when extracting natural ingredients as they can be processed using unsustainable methods.

Microplastic pollution

Cosmetic packaging is not the only source of plastic pollution. The microbeads, a type of plastic, are found within the product itself.

These microbeads are small plastic particles that are commonly used as an exfoliating agent in body scrubs and other beauty products.A consumer can dump thousands of microplastics into drains and waterways simply by using cosmetics that contain microbeads.