Advantages, Disadvantages and Eco-Friendly Beauty Solutions


Currently, there is clamor worldwide to use sustainable packaging in the cosmetics industry, largely driven by consumer and e-commerce trends.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started, beauty products had been using up billions of plastic units yearly, accounting for a huge portion of environmental waste. Additionally, much of the material used in their containers comes from virgin sources, so there’s also some concern about cosmetics depleting natural reserves.


Fabric is a sustainable packaging type that can be used on soap


Should small business owners join in the dialog? In this blog, we shall discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using sustainable cosmetic packaging and explore ways to make it work.


What Is Sustainable Cosmetic Packaging?


Sustainable cosmetic packaging consists of beauty product packaging material that later on gets processed according to the 3Rs—reduce, reuse and recycle. Other important characteristics are biodegradability and being organic.

“Refillable” also comes to mind because “reuse” can mean something else, like “repurposing.” Bottomline, the goal for substituting these materials is to lessen the volume of single-use packaging in the industry.


What Are the Upsides of Using Sustainable Materials for Packaging Cosmetics?


The most obvious benefits of using eco-friendly cosmetic packaging mostly pertain to the business’ green marketing and production aspects. They are outlined below.


1. Promising Marketing Prospects 


Thanks to decades of media coverage, consumers have a heightened awareness of environmental issues. This has been a reason for various countries to create eco-protective programs and for companies to be more conscious of what they put in their products.

Like we pointed out in our blog, Green Shipping with Eco-Friendly Packaging, Americans have consistently supported green marketing. Even during economically trying times, green businesses are known to experience fewer financial problems than others. This was proven again amid the COVID-19 pandemic by surveys from McKinsey and Company, Deloitte and others. Americans associate eco-friendly choices with health protection.

Around the world, sustainable cosmetic packaging is supported by 7 out of 10 consumers, and the same proportion is willing to pay more for a shift. Overall, eco-friendly cosmetic packaging has a market ready to welcome it, and the shift may be worth the risk.


2. A Chance to Have A Good Market Share


In 2018, L’Oréal introduced paper bottles for skincare and bath products. Unilever joined in the year after by marketing TRESemme shampoo in recycled black bottles. Then there’s Sephora-retailing startup Aether Beauty, which has always distinguished itself as an eco-friendly cosmetics company. These are just some of the trendsetters fanning the green flames within the industry.

Small businesses are in a good position to get a bigger market share if they make the switch this early. Inexpensive, generic sustainable packaging materials are widely available, waiting to be transformed by creative design. New entrepreneurs can capitalize on the increasingly popular idea before the shops get saturated.


cosmetics paper packaging


3. Customer Loyalty


Environmentalism is a popular advocacy, and one of the best ways to retain customers and keep them engaged in a brand is to identify with their causes. Using sustainable cosmetic packaging speaks about a company’s commitment to go green. Doing so helps spread some word-of-mouth advertising, which can boost online sales by as much as 60%. 


4. Contribution to Efforts to Protect the Environment


Using sustainable packaging helps minimize greenhouse gas emissions—the so-called “carbon footprint”—which add to global warming. It also helps reduce waste and conserve natural resources for the next generation. Companies that implement environment-friendly policies not only sell more, but they also help take care of the planet. Green marketing is always received well by the public.


5. Immunity to Supply Chain Disruptions


The US imports virgin raw materials from various international sites. Consequently, when a global-scale calamity like the COVID-19 pandemic occurs, supply chain disruptions paralyze local businesses.

Recycling used packaging materials can be done locally to enhance access to raw material supply, prevent shortages and keep customers from switching to other sellers. This way, businesses are less affected by international logistical barriers.


recycling plastic


Small business owners have lots to be optimistic about by using sustainable packaging. The cosmetics industry seems to be ripe for it.


What Are the Downsides of Using Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Packaging?


Despite its advantages, switching to sustainable cosmetic packaging may be a challenge to small business owners. Eco-friendliness is not as easy to implement in the beauty industry as in other trades, like the food business. Some of the biggest reasons are the following:


1. Sustainable Cosmetic Packaging Is Not Always Pretty


Recycled packaging commonly comes discolored. Incomplete segregation of colored waste materials is mostly responsible for this, and clarifying additives cannot clear up the stains completely. This makes them less ideal for making luxury cosmetic packaging, where strict color standards have to be met.


2. Materials Are Not Always Strong


Sustainable packaging is sometimes too frail for cosmetic retail. Paper can only be recycled six times before its fibers completely give way and lose functionality. Bioplastic can be degraded simply by prolonged exposure to air, which oxidizes it. Post-consumer resins need virgin plastic to reinforce weak spots. These issues need to be addressed, or unboxing a beauty product will be a total wreck.

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