Are you doing your eco-warrior bit by recycling your kitchen waste? Yes? Congratulations, we knew we liked the look of you. Now answer the same question when it comes to your cosmetics. Yeah, we thought so…
For some reason, once we’ve ﬁnished beautifying, there’s a tendency to pop our empties straight into the bin, meaning our old shampoo bottles or lip-gloss containers either end up as landﬁll – where, we kid you not, it can take them a thousand years to decompose – or bobbing around in the sea. According to environmental website EcoWatch, as much as eight million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans each year, destroying ecosystems, killing sea life and making its way back into the ﬁsh that we eat. The United Nations Environmental Programme predicts that by 2050, there will be more plastic than ﬁsh in the world’s oceans. Not only a scary statistic with catastrophic implications for future generations, but also not a very nice thought when going for a dip at JBR or tucking into the plat du jour at Crazy Fish.
Vila Vasoodaven, founder of Dubai-based organic make-up e-tailer Green Chic says, “We’re seeing a rise in the Middle East’s consumer’s recycling habits, and initiatives and support for sustainability-based projects, both by the government and the private sector. Even recently, we had Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, so this topic is being discussed more and more. The next step is to get more people thinking about how to make recycling part of their everyday lives and being more environmentally friendly, such as using less plastic and making changes in the way we consume and live.”
We know – it’s hard to resist the allure of a beauty haul, though; the thrill of unwrapping the cellophane, boxes, pamphlets, ribbons, and miles of cardboard to get to your potion full of promise. But as beauty brand Soaper Duper founder Marcia Kilgore explains, “So many companies overpackage their products to make them look bigger, or feel more full than they are. In cosmetics, this is a real red herring.” She continues, “You can actually ﬁnd very slim weights in many packages, there to give the illusion of quality, when really the weight is just one more thing being thrown into landﬁll when the product is used up.”
Thankfully, it’s not quite all doom and gloom as there is some progress being made. Those nasty little plastic microbeads you used to ﬁnd in face scrubs and toothpaste? They’ve just been banned from the manufacturing process in the UK and will be prohibited from sale in July. It’s only a matter of time before this way of thinking reaches the Middle East.
In addition, brands are rapidly upping their eco-game. The reﬁllable movement is gaining momentum, with brands like Le Labo, L’Occitane and Kiehl’s offering the service with added incentives, such as discounts on their products. Kjaer Weis produces mascara and foundation reﬁlls as standard. And Lush is constantly striving to be more eco-friendly and even offers a shampoo-in-a-bar that eliminates the production of over 15 million plastic bottles. Its black pots are also made out of recycled polypropylene plastic, and when returned to the store, Lush will recycle them for you – and give you a little gift, too.
Mass-market brands are also attempting to turn things around. P&G’s Head & Shoulders has been awarded the United Nations Momentum for Change Award, recognising its contribution to raising awareness of plastic pollution. The company has also produced the world’s ﬁrst recyclable shampoo bottle made from up to 25 per cent recycled beach plastic, while L’Oréal’s Garnier packaging is now made from 50 per cent post-recycled materials.
Meanwhile, Dior’s big skincare hit of 2017, the Hydra Life range, downsized when it came to packaging, removing all unnecessary cardboard, cellophane and leaﬂets. It’s doing the same again with its latest line about to hit shelves; The Sorbet Programme. Using 83 per cent natural ingredients, it’s free of parabens and comes in the same minimalist packaging.
So with the ﬁrst Global Recycling Day just around the corner – 18 March to be exact – isn’t it about time you come clean when it comes to your beauty regime? Don’t worry – we’ll be joining you!
Photos: Jason Lloyd-Evans and supplied