The cosmetic industry is an industry that tends to produce a great deal of waste via product packaging. Most cosmetics are packaged individually, so the plastic and other materials used can quickly add up. There is not an obvious solution to many of these problems; after all, it’s not like you can store two full-size lipsticks in a single tube. But there are still some ways you can reduce your cosmetic packaging footprint, some less obvious than others.
Use Sustainable Materials Whenever Possible
In the case of cosmetics, most require individual packaging, but you can swap out the current packaging for something more sustainable. If, for example, the mascara you sell currently comes in a single-use non-recyclable plastic tube, see if you could swap it out for a recyclable plastic or a recyclable glass. See what other materials you could easily change in the packaging without negatively affecting the product.
Make It Easier to Recycle
There are multiple issues with recycling cosmetic containers, including the fact that glass and plastic must be clean to recycle. Most consumers simply are not going to struggle to rinse out a foundation bottle or mascara tube just so they can recycle it. Try to come up with a way to make this easier for them to do. You could create and offer a specific tool that makes it easy to clean the containers; consider doing so for free to encourage its use. Or you could offer some sort of recycling program where consumers could drop empty containers off at specific locations for you to recycle.
Help Consumers Get Every Drop
There are both pros and cons to helping consumers get every single drop of a cosmetics product. Obviously, if products last longer, they will not make a new purchase quite as often. At the same time, this is less wasteful, reducing your footprint. Even better, the fact that you make it possible for customers to get their money’s worth can drive brand loyalty, actually boosting your sales in the long run.
Make Travel-Size Products Refillable
Many people who use cosmetics like to have travel-size versions on hand, whether to take on trips or to keep in their purses. Unfortunately, these tend to use a great deal of packaging for a single use. You can get around this by designing your travel-size cosmetics to be refillable using your normal-sized cosmetics. This will reduce the waste from packaging and encourage brand loyalty via convenience and savings. Of course, this works better with certain items than others, since refilling a tiny foundation bottle will be easier than eyeshadow or another powder.
Offer Larger Sizes
The idea of making travel-size products refillable stems from the fact that larger sizes tend to use less packaging per ounce or gram. You can use this information to help you reduce your footprint by offering certain favorite products in larger sizes. Market them as money-saving alternatives, perfect for leaving at home or filling up the travel-size versions.
For the best results, see if you can combine this with some sort of refillable version of your average-sized packaging. For example, would it be feasible to make the powders in your eyeshadow compact removable so you could sell just the powders in tiny trays instead of the compact? You could do this for a discount to encourage the option and easily reduce packaging.