Living a zero waste lifestyle has gained an increasing amount of traction over the last couple of years. And for a good reason. People are now more aware of the consequences of plastic and single-use materials on the environment.
The makeup industry is no exception. Historically, people, especially women, in power have always been the leading agents in makeup (think Queen Elizabeth and her pale complexion).
Today, as we see more prominent personalities like YouTube influencers become more environmentally aware, zero waste makeup is also now seen as a viable, fashionable option. Plus, it helps that everything is online and information can be spread easily.
But, let’s make something clear. The purpose of a zero waste makeup routine is not to join in on a fad. It’s not something people do just for style. It is an approach to making the planet we live in a better one by making conscious consumer choices.
That said, let’s talk about the changes going on in zero waste makeup and why they seem to be gaining popularity.
The Plastic Problem
First, let’s talk about the plastic problem.
Polymers, or plastics, are everywhere. They’re in our cellphones, our wallets, our shirts, and basically every other item you can think of. However, single-use plastic that can’t be recycled is the one most notoriously known for causing environmental damage.
It isn’t just that plastic crowds up our oceans and intrudes on habitats; there’s also the issue of the production process itself. Much of plastic production involves petrochemicals like petroleum. There are plenty of environmental issues that surround petroleum mining, including environmental damage and health concerns of indigenous communities.
The problem of plastic goes much deeper than we think.
On average, we produce about 300 million tons of plastic waste annually. That number is difficult to comprehend, so let’s put it another way. Every year, we produce plastic waste that is nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.
We know that plastics aren’t biodegradable. So most of this junk just continues to exist, unless they’re incinerated, which isn’t a viable solution as it is a major contributor to air pollution and releases toxic gases into the atmosphere.
Clearly, plastics are a major issue that we are still struggling to find solutions for.
Plastic in Makeup
Most of us don’t think about it much, but many of the makeup products you buy use plenty of plastic in their packaging. These containers are often difficult to reuse and recycle, perpetuating the issue of plastic pollution.
The pumps on your foundation, the doe-foot applicator of your concealer, your mascara tube, the list goes on and on. And if you constantly use a particular product, you’ll have to toss the container out and just buy a new one.
That doesn’t even take into account the outer packaging itself! Some brands choose to package their makeup products swathed in unnecessary plastic. Many small items come in big containers purely for aesthetic purposes.
By now, it’s clear that the problem of waste in the makeup industry is no secret. With brands coming out with collections left and right, it’s easy for all that waste to stack up.
The increasing popularity of zero waste makeup
Zero waste is essentially a way of living that promotes limiting waste as much as possible. This doesn’t only include plastic waste. It also entails lessening waste on all fronts. Meaning, utilizing reusable items as much as possible, decreasing food waste and composting them, using less paper, and plenty more.
In makeup, this means not using plastic packaging. No more plastic lipstick tubes, plastic canisters, bottles, or applicators. Many brands have now come up with ways to package makeup that is environmentally friendly.
Some brands package creme tints in crayon form where there’s no need for a tube. Some choose to package in glass or metal. Even better are products that you can use in multiple ways, like mascara that doubles as eyeliner or creams that are good as lipstick, blush, or eyeshadow.
Here are some reasons why zero waste makeup is gaining popularity.
- People want to reduce their plastic waste
We’ve already highlighted the plastic issue above. With those facts in mind, it makes sense that people want to reduce their plastic waste. In fact, local policies that aim to reduce plastic waste are already in place in most places.
Not to mention the internet. Social media gives people so many opportunities to share what they believe about plastic and waste and how we should endeavor to reduce it. As audiences to each other, we become influenced by movements that we believe spark positive effects.
- Zero waste makeup is often clean makeup.
Most zero waste makeup is made thoughtfully. Meaning, they’re often made from ingredients that aren’t harmful and are natural. This isn’t true in all cases, but a significant portion of zero waste brands do err on the side of clean beauty.
From lead and arsenic in the Victorian era to our synthetic chemicals of today, makeup isn’t always great for our health. That considered, using zero waste makeup that also contains clean ingredients is a must.
- People want to become more eco-conscious consumers.
A major part of going zero waste is making more conscious consumer choices. That means not buying unnecessary items that you aren’t going to use anyway. And if you’re a regular makeup user, you’d understand how easy it can be to purchase makeup and then completely neglect to use them.
Here is an article on zero waste makeup brands from Puratium, that promote the exact opposite of mindless purchasing. We encourage you to check it out. Laura and the team are always talking about zero waste and its importance.
Buying zero waste makeup has the added benefit of it being a conscious consumer choice. You aren’t just buying makeup because of some ad; you are actively choosing this product and carefully reviewing its added value to your routine.
It isn’t about being fashionable.
Lastly, let’s not let the increasing popularity of zero waste distract us from the core of the issue: reducing waste.
Zero waste is not a fad, trend, or challenge. It is a lifestyle that you have to commit to for your own reasons. It isn’t about feeling shame or guilt about what you purchase either. It is about making positive changes in your life that translate to using less waste and limiting your environmental impact.