If you make a product, the inevitable truth is that you are contributing waste at some point. Identifying where superfluous waste transpires is a hot agenda point for companies trying to turn over a new “green” leaf and stay relevant. One of the most wasteful points of the supply chain is packaging and thankfully consumers are welcome to alternatives. Tulerie debated packaging in the beginning but as much as we love the idea of beautiful presentation our eco-chic ideals trumped that objective.
One of the most wasteful industries in terms of packaging is the beauty industry because the product itself needs a container and then thanks to marketing, said container is wrapped in insta-worthy packaging for unveiling. In 2017, the beauty sector generated 142.6 billion units of packaging with over 40 percent made from the rigid plastics. Rigid plastics are one of the worst offenders because of their single use nature — if you need a refresh, we dedicated an entire blog post, breaking down plastic pollution.
Nonetheless, packaging has a strong argument for its role in the supply chain because it is necessary at some level for purposes of preservation and transportation. The call-to-action is a move toward less single use plastics and more recycled materials or re-usable materials like paper, glass, and metal. But of course it’s never that simple. Glass which requires less energy to recycle compared with plastic creates a deficit in another way; glass is heavier which increases the carbon footprint over time from transportation. Innovation, while easy for smaller, new brands to adopt is a challenge for mature business who have millions of products and have been operating with lower cost plastics for a century.
So what’s the work around? Supporting the new guys who are starting their businesses with eco-coonscious missions and/or the established brands actively taking steps to change their process (slow as it may be). The beauty giant L'Oréal has committed to ending virgin plastic use by 2025, and is working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy (we are big fans of the work behind the Ellen MacArthur Foundation). Knowing this already makes us want to switch our Diorshow for L’Oreal's mascara. We want our dollars to work for green initiatives versus funding the over-design of a matte box for that tube of mascara that absolutely does not need a box, and most definitely does not need to then be put in a bag.
Since Tulerie is one of the new guys, we’re a bit more nimble at this stage so early on we committed to reducing waste however we can which is why we don’t provide packaging and strongly encourage re-use of boxes for shipping among the Tulerie community. If you’re not sure where to start in a broader sense, just begin with consciousness. Evaluate at check-out if you need any of the packaging being forced on you and politely turn it down. Or, have a melt down in complete disapproval when a store tries to wrap your new denim in absurd wads of tissue paper — your call! Either way, it starts with addressing the problem, so let your voice be heard.