Sustainability, as defined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, refers to an economic development approach that caters to the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Over the last few years, the beauty industry has faced a lot of criticism regarding how they produce and handle their products. Recently, more pressure has been on companies to become more environmentally conscious. The beauty industry is known for producing and throwing out vast quantities of plastic packaging, making it a good place to start in terms of sustainability. When beauty and sustainability come together, transformative things happen. This is why we believe that beauty is for the greater good, and choosing sustainable packaging can benefit both your company and the planet.

We have prepared this article to serve as your guide in adopting an eco-friendly approach to packaging your beauty products, thereby reducing your environmental footprint. You will find information on noteworthy sustainable packaging solutions and materials that are free from harmful effects on the environment.

Why Does Sustainability Packaging Matter to the Beauty Industry?

In recent years, the beauty industry has witnessed a surge in consumer demand for sustainable products. A study by Statista reveals that over 50% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products, indicating a significant shift towards eco-consciousness. This trend is further supported by a Packaging Digest article, which cites that 36% of consumers are more inclined to purchase from a brand with sustainable packaging, and 22% are willing to pay a higher price for products that feature eco-friendly packaging.

When it comes to packaging products, sustainability and packaging are closely related. There are two main reasons why brands should care about sustainability.

1. The positive impact of sustainable packaging on the environment

The beauty industry introduces a multitude of new products in various packaging formats annually. While this may generate enthusiasm among consumers and marketing teams, this incessant process of production, consumption, and waste disposal is detrimental to our environment.

As a key player in the global market, the beauty industry has a crucial role to play in promoting sustainable practices through eco-friendly packaging solutions. This proactive approach can serve as a catalyst for other industries to adopt environmentally responsible practices as well.

2. The advantages of sustainable packaging for businesses

The concept of sustainability extends beyond reducing waste or mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, although these are certainly important factors. It also encompasses social implications that can shape your brand’s perception in a market that is increasingly driven by values.

Consumers are now more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases and are increasingly mindful of their choices. Therefore, incorporating sustainable packaging into your business strategy can impact not only your bottom line but also your brand’s reputation.

Best 8 Sustainable Packaging Solutions for the Beauty Industry

In the interest of reducing the environmental impact of product waste, sustainable packaging solutions can be produced using a variety of materials. Depending on the requirements for the safe storage of your products, some materials may prove more advantageous than others. The following 8 alternative packaging solutions are worth considering.

1. Post-consumer packaging

Post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging is a sustainable method that involves using recycled materials, such as cardboard boxes, folding cartons, plastic bottles, paper, aluminum, and other daily items. These materials are collected and taken to a recycling facility, where they undergo a sorting process and are then turned into bales. These bales are subsequently used to mold new items into the desired shape and size, thereby creating a sustainable packaging solution.

Ulta Beauty, a renowned beauty retailer, has committed to a sustainable packaging initiative that aims to have 50% of its assortment packaging made from recycled or bio-sourced materials, or recyclable or refillable by 2025. This pledge aligns with their sustainable packaging pillar, which is aimed at providing guests with greater transparency and positive choices in terms of Ulta Beauty’s packaging.

2. Bamboo packaging

Bamboo wood is a popular material for cosmetic jars, which are typically lined with an acrylic or glass coating. Various types of bamboo can be cultivated to provide products with increased durability and design variety. The packaging can also be customized with branding using various printing techniques, such as hot stamping, laser engraving, and carving, among others.

3. Paper packaging

Paper packaging is a popular alternative to plastic packaging due to its biodegradability and renewability. It can be customized to protect your products throughout their shelf life, and customers can also recycle the material for other purposes.

4. Refillable packaging

Incorporating refillable containers and packaging into your product line can aid in minimizing plastic waste. Typically crafted from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastics, these materials offer a durable and versatile solution for storing various products. Upon depletion, the packaging can be repurposed and recycled to reduce environmental impact.

5. Cornstarch packaging

In sustainable packaging, organic materials that are biodegradable and recyclable are often used. Cornstarch packaging is produced by fermenting the plant sugar and starch using polylactic acid (PLA). It is a cost-effective packaging material as the raw materials are readily available in abundant supplies.

6. Glass packaging

Glass packaging is widely recognized as a superior alternative to plastic packaging, as it eliminates any potential chemical interactions between the product and container. Recycled glass further provides additional cost savings on manufacturing energy during the production process. As a result, it is the preferred choice for cosmetic packaging involving creams, pastes, and other liquid-based products.

7. Aluminum packaging

Aluminum packaging offers superior protection for your products against light, scents, and moisture due to its air-tight and temperature-resistant properties. This ensures that the product maintains its quality for a longer period of time. Aluminum is also highly malleable, allowing it to be easily shaped into various forms, making it a versatile option for cosmetics and beauty products.

8. Beeswax packaging

In the world of sustainable packaging, beeswax packaging has gained popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic packaging. It is made by coating fabrics like cotton with a mixture of jojoba, beeswax, and select oils, which create a light protective layer for products. Beeswax packaging offers a wide range of customization options and also has anti-bacterial properties.

Challenges Faced by the Beauty Industry in Implementing Sustainable Packaging Solutions

The beauty industry is recognized as a highly demanding sector in terms of resources and energy consumption. As per the World Bank, manufacturing a single plastic shampoo bottle requires over 10 liters of water and emits 7 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent. Despite this, the implementation of sustainable packaging poses various challenges for the industry. The quantity of packaging used, the materials utilized, and the sustainability of each component present significant hurdles to overcome.

1. The dependence of brands on packaging suppliers delaying transition to sustainable materials

The challenge of implementing sustainable packaging solutions in the beauty industry is exacerbated by the dependence of brands on their packaging suppliers. Some brands may be reluctant to adopt more sustainable materials for fear of appearing to generate more waste than their competitors, even if the new packaging is made from recycled or recyclable materials.

2. Challenges in recycling complex composite packaging

One of the challenges faced in the beauty industry is the complexity of composite packaging that is difficult to recycle in several countries. A typical beauty product package comprises multiple materials and components, such as a lipstick case made of plastic and metal, which cannot be mixed during the recycling process. As a result, partially recyclable products often end up in landfills instead of being recycled. The extensive use of plastic in beauty product packaging is due to its flexibility in creating elegant cases for products such as lipsticks, nail polish bottles, and eyeshadow palettes. However, the disposal of plastic packaging is causing pollution in our oceans and negatively affecting marine life.

Tips for Integrating Sustainable Packaging in Your Beauty Business

Integrating sustainable packaging into your beauty business can be a daunting task, but it is a necessary step towards reducing your environmental impact. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Assess your current packaging: Take stock of your current packaging and identify areas where you can make sustainable changes. Look for opportunities to reduce the amount of packaging, switch to recyclable materials, or eliminate unnecessary components.
  • Set sustainability goals: Define your sustainability goals and communicate them clearly to your team and packaging suppliers. Consider factors such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable materials, and minimizing waste.
  • Research sustainable packaging options: Look for suppliers that offer sustainable packaging options such as biodegradable plastics, recycled materials, and renewable resources like bamboo or sugarcane.
  • Test and trial new packaging: Conduct small-scale tests and trials with sustainable packaging options before committing to a full-scale switch. This will help you identify any potential issues or challenges before making a larger investment.
  • Communicate your efforts: Once you have implemented sustainable packaging into your business, communicate your efforts to your customers. This can help build brand loyalty and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

By following these tips, you can begin to implement sustainable packaging into your beauty business and reduce your environmental impact.

Successful Cases: How Beauty Brands Switched to Sustainable Packaging

The beauty industry is becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their products and is taking steps to create sustainable packaging solutions. This is mainly due to the fact that a significant proportion of beauty and personal care products cannot be recycled, and many consumers are demanding a change. Presented below are some case studies of beauty brands that have already implemented or are in the process of implementing sustainable packaging.

Lush Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics has implemented sustainable packaging solutions by offering products in reusable containers. The brand reports that 65% of their products are sold without any packaging, while those in bottles are made of 100% post-consumer plastics. This approach to packaging not only benefits the environment but also provides convenience to both customers and business owners by allowing for multiple refills.

M.A.C Cosmetics

MAC Cosmetics has made a significant effort towards sustainable packaging, following in the footsteps of Lush Cosmetics. As of 2021, the makeup brand has implemented a program that encourages customers to return empty M.A.C packages for recycling and transformation. This initiative is an important step towards minimizing the environmental impact of their products and promoting a circular economy.


DECIEM, a unique player in the beauty industry, has adopted an innovative approach to customer engagement. In 2019, the company altered its packaging to reflect its commitment to ‘clean beauty’. DECIEM collaborated with its suppliers to repurpose paper into a new, sustainable packaging material that can be easily recycled once it reaches the end of its useful life.


Origins has made a significant commitment to sustainability by planting one million trees to offset carbon emissions. The company is also taking steps to improve its packaging, with the goal of ensuring that 80% of it is recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled, or recoverable by 2023. In addition, all freestanding stores in North America are powered by 100% renewable electricity. This demonstrates Origins’ dedication to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainability in the beauty industry.


The Aveda brand, owned by Estée Lauder, prioritizes sustainability in its production processes, making it a notable example in the beauty industry. Aveda’s philosophy is centered around nature and sustainability, considering nature as a model to be emulated and protected. As part of its commitment to sustainability, Aveda was the first beauty brand to adopt 100% post-consumer recycled PET for its packaging, setting an example for other brands to follow.

Where to Find Sustainable Cosmetic Packaging Supplier?

If you’re having difficulty finding a sustainable cosmetic packaging supplier, it’s important to do your research and look for companies that prioritize sustainability in their operations. One such company is UKPACK, a professional cosmetic packaging supplier based in China that is committed to developing sustainable plastic packaging.

UKPACK offers a wide range of sustainable packaging options, including PCR (post-consumer recycled) materials, biodegradable materials, and refillable packaging. Their products are designed to minimize waste and reduce the environmental impact of cosmetic packaging.

In addition to offering sustainable packaging solutions, UKPACK also works closely with their clients to develop customized packaging designs that meet their specific needs and requirements. They prioritize customer satisfaction and are committed to delivering high-quality products that meet strict quality standards.

If you’re looking for a reliable and sustainable cosmetic packaging supplier, UKPACK is a great option to consider. They have a strong track record of delivering innovative and eco-friendly packaging solutions to clients around the world.


The beauty industry has been subject to considerable scrutiny in relation to their approach towards product and packaging sustainability. The industry is under increasing pressure to transition towards eco-friendly alternatives that can mitigate product waste and reduce the negative environmental impact. Adopting sustainable packaging practices is a crucial step towards supporting the clean beauty movement.

For further insights into your business’s packaging requirements, our team of experts at UKPACK is always available to assist you. We offer a range of packaging solutions and printing services to suit your needs. Contact us today to bring your vision to life.

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