You may have heard some of the staggering statistics around the amount of waste generated by the beauty industry. (For example, Euromonitor International reported that nearly 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were used for beauty and personal care products in the U.S. alone—and that was 2018). Which prompts the question: how do we properly recycle beauty products?
A disappointing reality is that “only a small fraction of plastics in the U.S. are actually getting recycled,” says Danielle Jezienicki, the vice president of sustainability for Grove Collaborative. “Things that are more likely to be recycled are larger bottles and containers that aren’t as commonly used in the cosmetics industry,” she adds.
The good news is that the beauty industry is starting to think about sustainable packaging in a more meaningful way (though, to be clear, we still have a long way to go).
Leaders like Unilever (which owns Dove, Suave and Simple) and L'Oréal (parent company to Kiehl’s, Maybelline and Garnier) have both pledged to make 100 percent of their plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, refillable, or compostable by 2025; Procter & Gamble (who owns Olay, Pantene and Secret) says 90 percent of its packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.