The beauty industry has grown substantially over the years, making it one of the biggest industries in the world. With this growing industry comes a lot of baggage, literally. It has been one of the huge contributors towards pollution and environmental hazards.

The packaging used by most beauty products are not biodegradable or recyclable. Even when packaging certifies as recyclable, not all the packaging is recycled. The most recent figures from Zero Waste Week state that 120 billion units of beauty packaging are produced annually. This includes materials like plastic, paper, glass, and metals that wind up in landfills every year. In addition, huge demand for natural oils generated by many cosmetic products also results in widespread and intensive agriculture, deforestation that damages natural ecosystems, and pollution of soil and water by fertilizers and pesticides. The use of mica, a naturally occurring silicate mineral dust, to brighten and add shine in many cosmetic products is only one example of the terrifying social side of the beauty industry as the mining of mica uses extensive child labor.

In 2018, the U.S. generated more than 7.9 billion units of cosmetic trash, according to Euromonitor. In order to address this problem, a lot of cosmetics companies are now employing recyclable or biodegradable materials for their packaging, like glass, paper, and recycled plastic, which has a lower carbon footprint than conventional plastic packaging. Customers can purchase products in larger amounts or pick sustainable packaging to minimize packaging waste.

Historically, makeup and skin care products were made of natural oils and resources, but in today’s scenario many of them are made in labs with chemicals infused with limited natural resources giving the product a short life span, typically two to three years. Another concern with beauty products is the use of ingredients that may contribute to skin conditions like eczema, acne, and other sensitivities. In response to these worries, a large number of businesses in the beauty sector are attempting to reduce toxic components, use sustainable packaging, and use cleaner manufacturing techniques in order to make their products more ecologically friendly.

Positive developments are also being driven by customers’ growing desire for sustainable and eco-friendly beauty products. In an effort to reduce pollution brought on by the beauty sector, regulatory organizations are also enforcing stronger guidelines for the usage of specific substances and packaging materials.