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Beautiful Tuesdays : Color me Green

Post by Kezia:

As a kid, I loved poring over the pages of the Avon catalogue and wandering around the makeup aisle in Walgreens. I’m still hooked on beauty products and I wince to think about how much I’ve spent on them over the years. What pains me more than lost dollars, though, is my excessive consumption of wasteful product packaging.

Beauty Packaging Makes Ugly Waste
The amount of packaging used for beauty products is pretty staggering. Most (not all) prestige cosmetics not only include their delivery system (lipstick tube, compact, wand, etc.), but boxes, instructional inserts, and stickers. Now ponder how many trees it took to create the cardboard boxes, the tons of fossil fuels used in shipping package components, and the potential toxicity of the dyes used for printing. Yikes.

According to the Dogwood Alliance, an organization in the South that holds corporations accountable for their impact on forests and communities, “…in the U.S. we generate 300 lbs. of packaging waste per person each year and 32% of the entire domestic waste stream consists of containers and packaging.”
The southern watchdog says that packaging symbolizes a disposable society – and I agree. While I can’t erase the past, I can try to lessen my beauty footprint going forward.

Eco-Conscious, Sustainable Beauty
Here’s a (far from exhaustive) list of green beauty products that use biodegradable and/or recyclable packaging.

Makeup
Physicians Formula Organic Wear: Mineral makeup that comes in biodegradable packaging.

Cargo PlantLove™ Botanical Lipsticks : These pretty celeb-inspired shades that come in lipstick tubes made out of corn — a renewable resource. The outer carton is made of flower paper embedded with real flower seeds.

Skincare and Personal Care
Based in Berkeley, CA, GratefulBody offers a full-range of organic skincare. Its products are packaged in recyclable glass. All cartons, inserts and information are printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks.
Pangea Organics (cleansers, lotions, scrubs, body washes) are formulated without synthetic preservatives, sulfates or detergents. The absence of these foaming agents means the products begin to biodegrade a few days after using them. The packaging made entirely from recycled materials.

Tools
Aveda’s Flax Sticks Professional Makeup Brushes:
Handles made of 30% natural flax fiber and 70% polypropylene (of which 90% is post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin); packaged in a plant-based, biodegradable cellulose bag. Brushes are made from non-animal fibers.

The Dr. Haushka Tube Wringerisn’t necessarily sustainable, but it does reduce waste by wringing every last drop of product from a tube. It makes it easier to be frugal.

How do You Green Your Regimen?

Do you buy organic or make an effort to buy sustainably packaged products? Or maybe you creatively conserve your products? I’d love to hear what you’re doing to lighten your beauty footprint.

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Discussion

8 comments for “Beautiful Tuesdays : Color me Green”

  1. interesting post. i, too, have spent many a trip to the local pharmacy, eyeing up the cosmetics aisle. way too much money spent on eyeshadows, liners, and glosses that haven’t left their package. this list is nice to have.

    Posted by amy | March 4, 2008, 2:47 pm
  2. glad you like the list. i plan on creating a more comprehensive list soon. :-)

    Posted by Kez | March 4, 2008, 5:38 pm
  3. thanks for the sweet info! I love pangea soaps.
    Aveda has their lipstick cases also in a high% postRecycled number I think and their stores are also highly environmental (retail furniture etc) I read about it in a pretty nice info book “paper or plastic”

    Posted by meli | March 4, 2008, 7:59 pm
  4. Thank you for this list! Going green for my cosmetics and personal hygiene products hadn’t crossed my mind as in other factors of my life, so having a reminder like this (and suggestions for green companies!) is a pleasant reminder.

    One of the nicer thing about some of the make-up brands I purchase is that they may not come with much protective coating outside of a plastic wrapper- but you made many valuable observations about the production of the containers.

    Posted by Ashe Mischief | March 4, 2008, 10:11 pm
  5. I collect all the cardboard packages that come with lipsticks, creams and everything else and then give them to a recycling company.

    The lipstick tube or container itself when the products themselves are finished, well, I throw them away unfortunately.

    Posted by Alya | March 5, 2008, 12:00 am
  6. This is really informative for me as a total non-beauty junkie…never mind being eco-conscious!

    Posted by susie_bubble | March 5, 2008, 3:34 am
  7. besides that i totally agree on the going-green aspect of this post… dropping the name ‘avon’ just aroused some childhood memories of soap in cute shapes and colours… *sigh*

    Posted by Fenke | March 5, 2008, 10:17 am
  8. Thanks for the plug, the packaging problem is a huge one and every purchase we make impacts our world, we really appreciate you raising awareness on this important issue!

    Posted by Scot | March 5, 2008, 10:37 am

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