As an indie natural beauty entrepreneur, I care deeply about sustainability both within my business and personal life. I have been implementing many initiatives to be more sustainable and to educate consumers about the role they play in the environment and the sustainability of the earth.
In fact, caring about the environment has been a business value since our inception in 2014 and last year I made it my personal mission to try to switch all of our packaging to a more sustainable option. The impact that plastics is having on our oceans is devastating and while consumers are being more conscientious every day using metal straws, bringing their own refillable water bottle, and now I even carry my own stainless steel "spork" with me in my purse instead of using single-use plastic cutlery when I am eating on the go. To buy your own check out my friend and Clean Kiss partner, The Kind Matter Company, in Milton and soon to be in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
I assumed that switching to a more eco-friendly packaging solution would be a fairly easy endeavour. Like there had to be hundreds of eco-friendly cosmetic packaging options for me to choose from right? Oh no, not so! I want to share my sustainable packaging story with you and also enlist your help.
But first let's review what the big issues are in sustainable skincare that Clean Kiss and many of my Indie beauty colleagues have been facing. This won't be an exhaustive list because this issue is huge! Here we will touch the surface of this topic and this will be the first of many blogs on this topic to bring awareness until better solutions are presented and available.
Want to skip reading all of this and jump right to the fun part? Watch our Founder, Jodie, give an informative overview on this passion project!
First Let's Talk About Recycling & Reducing your Bathroom Packaging Waste.
Consumers can and should be recycling all materials into their local recycling bin. Do you have a separate recycling bin in your bathroom? Do you know what is recyclable in your community? If you don't then find out. In most communities you should be able to visit their website, take a tour in person, and request detailed information from them for your household. For example, not all cities will recycle black or coloured plastic. You can check with your city/town and get the full details.
Do you eliminate packaging wherever you can? Do you try to buy products that are zero waste, such as my personal fave artisan handcrafted bars of soap or hair shampoo instead of body wash and shampoo in plastic bottles? One thing we feel very strongly about is not using secondary packaging, that is putting our product containers inside another container/box. Many skincare products you buy in glass jars or bottles do use a secondary package or box to prevent breakage on retail store shelves or for shipping to you. This is unnecessary waste and we don't subscribe to that. All of our facecare products are in glass and ship to the customer with recycled paper to protect it from breakage. Secondary boxes make the cost go up and is bad for the environment because those boxes end up where??? That's right, in the trash bin.
What about choosing natural skincare products that you know you can return the empty containers for a reward such as a product discount or credit or points? Would that incentivize you to gather up these empty containers instead of tossing them in the trash bin? We already have partners that we do this with to allow consumers to return their empties for a discount and plan to expand our program this year. We plan to expand on this even more in 2020!
When Recycling Isn't an Option.
It is more about reusing and repurposing than it is about recycling since we know there is a huge waste issue and that many recycling facilities are not ready to receive a lot of the packaging waste that we, as consumers, produce. And the countries that we have shipped our waste to are sending it back to us!!! This is a world-wide waste epidemic.
So then what? You think outside the "container" and instead you use them to store loose parts such as elastic bands, jewelry, take them travelling to bring smaller containers of your bigger jars like skin creams, use them in your office for paper clips, make them into plant pots, use them in the kitchen (granola? nuts?) and more. Be creative with how you can repurpose your containers rather than tossing them away into the landfill.
Explore Zero Waste Options.
Refillable natural skincare options are a great solution to allow you to buy your favourite natural skincare and body products without creating more waste. Other natural skincare brands, such as us, do this by having you bring back your empty container to refill, such as a plastic one that you have washed out and are going to refill, or by using another empty glass jar that you can fill with your favourite body, face care, natural deodorant and more. We have several Zero-waste partners that we are happy to be working with that make our natural skincare products available through their zero-waste, refillery stores. Here is our complete list to see where to buy Clean Kiss in refillable formats.
Don't be fooled by companies that toot the eco-friendly horn.
The eco-packaging cosmetic options can be overwhelming and there is a lot of misinformation prevailing around what is and isn't good for the earth. Some packaging options appear "better" for the environment until you take a closer look. For example, glass containers is an option that Clean Kiss considered switching to for our body butter and natural deodorant. I went so far as to almost sign a purchase order for thousands of glass units but had a final moment of clarity around what direction I really wanted to take. The truth was I didn't have enough information and felt I wanted more options to be able to choose from.
When doing my homework, I learned that there are many potential pitfalls to switching to glass. For example, glass is heavier than plastic or paperboard therefore the carbon emissions needed to deliver your glass products to consumers and retailers is higher. Glass is also prone to breakage which is why many skincare products are packaging in secondary packaging to protect the glass jars. Well that seems silly to us and against our values of reducing packaging waste. This doesn't even touch on the safety risk of having greasy or soapy hands and dropping a glass jar in your bathroom or shower. Yikes! That would be a dangerous mess.
Paperboard options are fantastic and we have been exploring this one in great depth. The issue with paperboard is that it often comes with a wax liner, to keep the product from seeping through it, therefore making it hard to recycle without the consumer physically removing the liner themselves.
I have contacted many packaging manufacturers around the globe, attended eco-packaging conferences, seminars, webinars, reached out to experts through LinkedIn and bent the ear of anyone who will listen to me rant about the challenges I have been having as an Indie natural skincare brand trying to do better for the earth. We don't know what the future holds for our packaging choices but for now we are still searching for the best fit for us. We are confident it will land in our lap when the time is right.
Look at what you are using and washing down the drain.
It's no longer enough to just worry about what toxins you are putting on your own body. We all need to develop a greater eco-consciousness of the impact your skincare products are having on the environment. Think bigger picture. For example, more and more countries are banning sunscreen that are non-biodegradable because of the harmful effects it has on the oceans and coral reefs. As if it wasn't enough to just worry about the harm these mainstream sunscreens did to your own skin, now these countries are proactively helping you make better choices when you travel there. Helpful for those that haven't yet tuned into the toxin crisis we face in our own bathroom!
In addition to sunscreen, think about the chemicals that you wash down the drain and that pollutes our water systems. In past years there was a big focus on facial scrubs with microbeeds that contained plastic particles that harmed the earth, but what about other chemicals that wash down the drain? Triclosan, found in anti-bacterial soaps, is another one. Silicones, found in hair products and body products, damage the soil, waterways, and more. And my personal major pet peeve, synthetic fragrances, get into our water because water treatment plants can't break them down. We need to stop assuming it is someone else's problem and start owning the earth impact of the products that cause it harm. Want to learn more about how to clean up your skincare for the earth's sake?
How about sustainable ingredients in skincare? This is a huge topic for another blog post but this is another issue to consider beyond the packaging. What is inside the container and was it sourced responsibly and ethically?
All of our products are free from parabens, formaldehyde, and artificial fragrances and colouring — making us a winner for the natural and green beauty fans among us.
Your Help is Needed!
Do you know of a better eco-sustainable packaging solution than we do? Are you secretly working on a perfectly bio-degradable, plant-based, low carbon emission, non-breakable solution for Clean Kiss to consider that won't cost consumers a fortune to purchase? After all, who wants to pay double or triple the cost just to cover the packaging cost to find an eco friendlier solution? Not many people are willing to pay for that. And I don't believe you will have to as further solutions are developed in the coming years.
If you have a solution for us to consider, please reach out. If you have ideas about sustainability as a consumer for us to consider, please reach out. Together we will find solutions to these issues for the future generations!
Our goal is to not introduce any new plastics into our Clean Kiss product line going forward. We want to find a way to move to a more sustainable packaging option that you can feel good about.
Loving your beauty products and loving the planet do not have to be mutually exclusive things.
Want to know more about Clean Kiss?
At Clean Kiss we are passionate about creating Clean at First Sight natural skincare that you can feel good about using yourself, and for your whole family.
From health-conscious, active mamas, to busy teenagers and dads, our customers love the experience of using our freshly-scented products that not only leave your skin feeling amazing, but ACTUALLY work.
Clean Kiss was founded by Family Natural Health Expert, Jodie Pappas, out of her own personal quest to find natural products for herself and her family that ACTUALLY worked. After first creating her signature natural deodorant, she went on to produce a full line of skincare and body products.
Each product is created in small-batches using chemical-free formulations that have been recognized with several awards and have developed a loyal customer base of Clean Kissers.
Visit us at cleankisslifestyle.com.