Zero-Waste Beauty: What It Means and Our 5 Favorite Products

TerraCycle Garnier Include USA
Lately you may have seen the words zero waste on your body lotion (and if that’s the case, we applaud you). It’s a growing trend within the beauty industry, and as someone who has spent the better part of a decade reporting on such matters, it’s the trend I am most excited about.   To get a better understanding of what this term actually means, I spoke to Tiila Abbitt, the CEO and founder of Aether Beauty, a sustainable makeup company that launched the first zero-waste eye shadow palette in the makeup industry.   "Zero waste means making sure nothing ends up in a landfill," explains Abbitt. "That can mean a few things: One is that a product is reusable, another is that it can actually be recycled." (I’m going to interrupt here briefly to drop in that oft-quoted National Geographic stat about how 91% of plastic ends up in landfills.) "And on that note, it’s making sure there is no packaging or packaging waste. The main idea is to limit what actually goes directly in your trash."   She concedes that "this idea can be intimidating because people think they have to completely switch up their entire lifestyle," but this isn’t about perfection. "We don’t need a few people creating a zero-waste lifestyle perfectly. We need millions of people trying their best, thinking more about their own footprint and making better choices with the goods they are purchasing, however imperfectly, to make a difference." In sum, it’s not an all-or-nothing affair.   So, how do we do this? "Look for products that have less waste, are package-free or are fully recyclable. And avoid single-use items like face wipes and cotton rounds," shares Abbitt. We’re also fans of Garnier’s partnership with TerraCycle, which processes plastic for you and turns it into earrings and benches and more, and brands like M.A.C and Lush that offer new products in exchange for empties. And beyond carefully choosing your beauty products, start bringing reusable items like shopping bags, coffee mugs and water bottles, utensils and metal straws with you for when you are out and about. OK, now who’s ready to shop some of our favorite sustainable beauty products?