“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere”
– Annie Leonard.
After I finish a beauty product, disposing of the empty jar, bottle or tub is not quite an easy thing for me to do especially when the container is exquisite.
Upcycling is my next course of action; I enlist empty containers for other household uses, like storing kitchen ingredients, jewellery, or use as a brush holder, an organizer for little beauty tools and yeah, turning it into a flower vase. This has always been a thing for me, even when I wasn’t very much aware of the messaging about Sustainability and living ‘Green’.
Sustainability is a hot topic right now globally, with young people increasingly demanding it from their products. You may ask, what exactly is Sustainability? Why should I be concerned? What has beauty got to do with this? Is this even a thing in the African beauty Industry? Yeah I know, been there, puzzled much *wink wink*
Sustainability is the quality of not being harmful to the environment or diminishing natural resources, thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. You should care about it because it is a shared responsibility, being sustainable makes sense; it improves health, increases safety and saves money.
In relation to the beauty industry, sustainability can be applied to different areas: how the raw ingredients are sourced, production, the energy consumption, waste management, and carbon footprint of the company- packaging and the biodegradability of the finished product.
Product packaging makes up an estimated 45 per cent of landfill waste and in 2017 the annual awareness campaign, Zero waste week, reported that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced by the global cosmetics industry every year.
To combat this problem recycling companies have teamed up with big international beauty brands like L’oreal’s Garnier, Mac cosmetics, Aveda amongst others to create free recycling programmes for their beauty product packaging.
The African beauty industry is not left out of the recycle trend; we have a good number of beauty brands that are mindful of what goes into creating products, the process of making the products and packaging. Sustainable beauty is the only way forward. It’s important that we embrace it so that we do better for our bodies, our environment and the world as a whole.