Circular Beauty - This is how zero waste cosmetics work

The beauty industry is also addressing the great challenge of becoming circular with zero waste cosmetics

Circular zero waste cosmetics

Author: Hanna

Red lips, soft skin and breathtakingly eyelashes - can this be possible without plastic waste? Zero waste cosmetics rely on recyclable packaging materials and Upcycling ingredients, plus refillable packaging. After circular beauty products have gained more and more importance in recent years, many cosmetic brands are now relying on circular economyfor their resources. No wonder, given the rising number of consumers preferring clean beauty products . But what does the term “circular cosmetic” mean, what role does it play in the beauty industry and what criteria should a circulat product meet?

What is circular cosmetic and why is it so important?

Half of all greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of biodiversity loss and water pollution are originated from the extraction of resources and their processing for everyday products. The packaging waste in the EU is annually 502 kilograms per inhabitant. After using a product, most packaging ends up in the garbage with no further use case. The resources used for this are simply lost.

The so-called circular business model follows a approach where all materials and products are never wasted, but always recycled or reused. In order to form a closed loop, the interplay between production and use as well as separation of the valuable materials and Recycling must work. So far, producers of conventional beauty products have followed a linear process. Certain resources were used to produce a cosmetic item and the packaging ends up in trash.

Kjaer Weis Zero Waste Cosmetics

Refill-Solution, Source & Copyright Kjaer Weis

The beauty industry produces tons of plastic wasteevery year. The circular cosmetic approach, however, forms a closed cycle that extends from production to recycling of the packaging materials and fully utilizes all of the product's resources. As a result, companies not only reduce packaging waste, but also use valuable resources more carefully. By this way, the tendency to consume more than we actually have is being reversed, because almost all the resources go back into the production cycle.

Packaging, Refill & Upcycling - Criteria for Zero Waste Cosmetics

Zero waste cosmetics meet certain criteria making them particularly sustainable. Starting with the packaging, cosmetic companies strive for a recycling cycle so that a cosmetic product really deserves the label "Zero Waste". For example refill solutions with a reuse system for packaging. If a product has been used up, it can then simply be refilled. No new resources have to be obtained for the production of packaging materials because the existing packaging can be used.

The use of Upcycling ingredients is also an important aspect for zero waste cosmetics. Upycling processes convert by-products or production waste into new materials or products. Cosmetic articles made from natural ingredients can contain a high proportion of upcycling products. These mostly come from the processing of discarded food. Lemon or orange peel, tea or coffee grounds and dried fruit seeds are just a few examples of food waste, which can be applied for natural cosmetics find useful use.

Source & Copyright Emma Lewisham

Emma Lewisham & Jane Goodall launch transparent circular cosmetics

Emma Lewisham is the first cosmetics brand worldwide to implement a circular business model that has a positive Co2 balance and has a 100 percent closed cycle. The model was created in cooperation with the United Nations Ambassador dr Jane Goodall. A special feature of the Emma Lewisham cosmetics brand is its achievement of being certified as a CO2-positive company, which makes it unique in the beauty industry worldwide.

In close cooperation with the independent certification agency Toitu Envirocare, all emissions were measured within the entire production and procurement process. The New Zealand cosmetics brand can now provide precise information on the carbon footprint of each product and aims to reduce emissions close to zero by 2.

The future of zero waste cosmetics

Even if numerous beauty brands have done a lot, to ensure that their products can be integrated into a closed cycle, that is by no means the end of it. Zero waste cosmetics must arrive in the mainstream in order for the beauty industry to change in the long run. While the separation of recyclable materials is an important part of circular cosmetics.

Therefore, all consumers can make a contribution to the successful design of circular business models by ensuring that they dispose the packaging of their beauty products correctly. The choice of cosmetic products and the respective brand is also in the hands of the consumers. Every choice for a zero waste cosmetic product, helps to drive positive change in the cosmetics industry.


Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

[ninja_form id = 3]

Related topics
How the innovative start-up Occtopus playfully improves the future Anja Höbel on Occtopus and the potential of unconscious prejudices in children for more diversity, equity, inclusion...
inflation sustainability
Inflation: stress test or opportunity for sustainable consumption? Is inflation leading to a decline in sustainable development? Modern values ​​and business models...
Certifications under criticism: Advantages and disadvantages of sustainability seals Practical guide or misleading? Certifications are intended to help consumers find their way in the jungle of...