Writer: Upcycled Beauty Company
There are visionary brands leading this movement, championing circularity in everything they do, from materials and packaging to waste management and community action. Let’s explore the world of zero waste beauty, where sustainability meets skin care and environmental awareness is seamlessly blended with cosmetics.
Beauty brands are leading the way
Scandinavian pioneer for Circular and Sustainable Beauty
Finnish beauty brand Lumene has been a pioneer of circular beauty for over 20 years. They have been at the forefront of using upcycled materials in their product lines.
One example is upcycled cloudberry, the first upcycled ingredient that still stands as the most popular skincare hero to this day. wild cloud berries It is a Scandinavian treasure that grows above the arctic circle. They contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges, and the unique Arctic climate results in a powerful superfruit rich in antioxidants.
But Lumene goes beyond just using upcycled ingredients in formulas. This year the brand announced a switch to bio-based jar packaging for all 50ml moisturizers in its core range. This change not only saves the use of 1.5 million pieces of fossil fuel-derived plastic per year, but is also produced from offshoots of the local Finnish forest industry.
Krave Beauty (USA)
Fighting invisible industrial waste
Waste is an issue that cuts across all parts of the beauty supply chain. By reducing waste, we can help reduce carbon emissions and focus on a low-carbon economy. Companies like Krave Beauty are leading the way in normalizing conversations about waste and saving personal care products.
In 2022, slow-down skincare brand Krave Beauty launched its “Don’t Waste Me” campaign, which saw a discarded pilot batch upcycled into a limited-edition Matcha Hemp Body Wash. After producing a reformulated version of its best-selling Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, the brand was left with a pile of more than 4,500 liters that did not meet specification. Turning lemons into lemonade, Krave Beauty has overhauled the formula to create a body wash. The product is packaged in a pouch that uses less plastic, water and energy than regular bottles. One mistake turned into magic, the body wash details were $8 off just to cover the expense.
No Upcycling of Planet B (Germany)
German start-up No Planet B Upcycling is on a mission to reduce food waste and give a second life to plant-based ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away. The product lines, which include shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and hand soaps, all contain upcycled ingredients derived from raw materials such as: Apricot kernel, used coffee grounds, olive leaf, broken grains of rice, blueberry seedsand more.
That’s not all: Each formula is certified vegan, easily biodegradable and free of microplastics. Additionally, all packaging is recyclable. The bottles are made from 100% recycled material and the tubes are made from 70% recycled material (without caps). Product covers also contain recycled content or are completely plastic-free.
Proclaiming themselves as positive rebels, they are on a circular mission, prioritizing upcycling for a waste-free planet and a sustainable future. Available at DM, one of Germany’s largest pharmacy chains, No Planet B Upcycling focuses on the simple pleasure of beauty care, while spreading an impressive upcycling message to the mass market.
The Dough of Life (France)
Fighting fruit waste
Pulpe de Vie is an organic cosmetics brand that produces all its beauty products from local, anti-waste fruits. By collaborating with small organic producers in the south of France, fruit and vegetables are saved from unsold crops, saving an average of 5 tonnes of excellent quality produce per year. These fruits and vegetables are then processed into vitamin-rich skin care products. An example of one of these ingredients they use is organic white. peachIt is a natural antioxidant known to fight free radicals.
Pulpe de Vie follows its own 10-step “Anti-Waste Charter,” not only repurposing wasted fruit but also considering how products are packaged and the way the company operates day-to-day. Some examples include working only with refurbished computer equipment to combat obsolescence and then keeping it for at least 5 years, and donating all their shelf-stable (but good quality) products to charities that support vulnerable people.
Ethical Skin Care, Organic and Zero Waste
It was founded with the idea of giving Coffee Grounds UpCircle transformed more than 450 tons of coffee waste into sustainable skin care as an opportunity for a new life. Every day a bike messenger visits 25 cafes in London and collects around 100kg of coffee grounds that would otherwise be thrown away. The brand has since branched out into other waste streams: olive stones, maple bark and palm seeds. They now have a wide range of skincare that focuses on all-inclusive, upcycled ingredients.
UpCircle was recently announced as one of 5 winners of Sky’s 2023 Sustainable Advertising Initiative; This means upcycled beauty missions will soon become mainstream in the UK by featuring innovative ingredient recovery concepts on national TV.
Shift to upcycling among major industry players
The shift to zero-waste materials, production and packaging isn’t just a source of independent brands. Upcycled materials are also finding their way into multinational and luxury branded products:
- Palmolive offers a range of vegan shower gels containing upcycled materials from the juice, paper and perfume industries. Palmolive UP! The range includes products containing upcycled orange peels, rose petals and eucalyptus.
- The Body Shop has added upcycled raspberry seed oil to its Vitamin E Moisturizing Day Cream, which is known as a source of vitamin E and uses leftover raspberry scraps from the juice industry, meaning there’s less waste overall.
- World-famous perfumery house Diptyque Paris has added upcycled Firad Rose to its Eau de Parfum Eau Rose fragrance to give it a green fruity note. The perfume is said to be in line with the brand’s ongoing approach to sustainability, as Firad Rose is upcycled using damascena rose water discarded during the distillation process.
- Stella McCartney’s Stella Skin Care contains responsible and traceable ingredients that deliver on its promise of Skin Sustainability™. An example of this is Olive squalene, a by-product from olive oil production in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece that would otherwise contribute to agricultural waste.
However, there is still a long way to go until personal care becomes completely zero waste. Next steps call for increasing the percentage of upcycled ingredients in a formula, rather than calling for one or two upcycled active ingredients or exfoliants. Cherishd is an in-house brand concept from The Upcycled Beauty Company that proves that completely upcycled formulations are possible. Thought to be the world’s first upcycled emulsion, Cherishd’s Supreme Superfood Cream is a first-of-its-kind formula featuring upcycled ingredients from multiple manufacturers.
A holistic view of the manufacturing process and product lifecycle should take into account the move towards upcycled and bio-based packaging, inspired by brands like Lumene, as well as how companies like Krave Beauty deal with waste generation and excess inventory. and The Essence of Life. As an industry, we can take inspiration from these circular pioneers and incorporate responsible sourcing, regenerative design, sustainable production and conscious consumption into all parts of the beauty and personal care business.