Forbes | The revolutionary paper bottle has been treated with a mineral complex extracted from clay so it can be safely taken into the shower. The entire bottle can not only be recycled but also up-cycled!
(This article first appeared in Forbes on April 16, 2018)
By Celia Shatzman
Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22, so why not celebrate the occasion by giving your beauty routine a green makeover? “Today’s young consumers are looking for companies and brands to do more than simply sell them a great product,” says Sonika Malhotra, Senior Brand Manager at Unilever. “They expect companies to be more responsible and aware, companies that create brands that share their values and encourage themselves and people around to do small acts that make the world a little more beautiful.” These two new beauty brands are doing their part to go green:
When Shane Wolf needed to escape New York City, he’d retreat to his farm in Pennsylvania. But he didn’t just get some rest and relaxation out of it. “Living and working at my rescue animal shelter, Shiloh Farm, taught me about the delicate balance of our ecosystem,” Wolf says. “The need for sustainable agriculture to feed the animals on my rescue farm made me more cognizant of the ecosystem for all of us on the planet. We do not live in a vacuum—there is an impact to everything we do and every choice we make.” That’s what lead him to launch his farm-to-body line Seed Phytonutrients.
As the General Manager at L’Oréal Global Hair Care Division working on Redken, Pureology and Mizani, Wolf is no stranger to the beauty industry. “The trend for natural beauty began many years ago as a fringe movement, which in more recent years has grown exponentially to be more about clean beauty,” he says. “There are many interesting brands in this space today that we love. Sustainability in this case means the social impact a brand can have, the packaging footprint and the relationship the brand has with its suppliers and business partners. Seed Phytonutrients came to fruition due to a culmination of partners dedicated to creating a harmonious environment of beauty, agriculture and sustainable business. We aim to radically shift what is identified as and considered sustainable and natural, as well as begin an important conversation on the beauty industry’s impact on the environment, agriculture, and consumers’ well-being.”
All of Seed Phytonutrients’ ingredients are ethically and naturally sourced from farmers. “We partner with independent organic farmers to harness the power of local seed varieties,” Wolf says. “Organic farming is a tough business; it takes three years to have an organic farm certified. During that period, farmers can’t market their products as certified organic and start-up costs are very high. We are obsessed with supporting our local organic farmers by paying upfront 100% of the crop, regardless of the yield. This allows farmers to reinvest in their farms and plan for their future harvest. We then take the seeds and cold press them to extract the high-quality oils; it’s one of the safest and purest ways as it doesn’t use chemicals or heat, which means all the vitamins and nutrients remain intact.”
To cut down on waste, the line partnered with Ecologic Brands to create a 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) paper bottle with a PCR liner, and both elements are recycled and recyclable. “The revolutionary paper bottle has been treated with a mineral complex extracted from clay so it can be safely taken into the shower,” explains Wolf. “The entire bottle can not only be recycled but also up-cycled! Each Ecologic bottle comes with a packet of seeds, which is our way of encouraging consumers to start their own gardens. The seeds can be traditionally planted or you can use the cardboard shell of the bottle and start an indoor garden.”
In case the name didn’t give it away, the newest personal care line from Unilever is putting its focus on the earth. “Beauty and its environmental impact are inseparable and that’s why we decided to do things a little differently,” says Malhotra. “We all understand that there is an impact of everything we do. Small efforts that can show our respect to the planet that so generously gives to all of us is always a good idea. Purpose is at the heart of everything we do. We have evaluated every aspect of our product life cycle to make something that consumers would love to use but also feel good about using. We want to create a community of consumers that want to look good while doing good, because it’s possible!”
Even some of the products were created to boost sustainability and put the focus on natural ingredients. For example, take their Cleansing Mist. “We were inspired by dry shampoo that can help you save water by extending the time between showers, so we developed a cleansing mist that aims to freshen your skin and save water,” says Matthew Seal, Research & Development Partner, Unilever. “This product cleans off dirt without the need for water. We love it when you are on the go and don’t have time to have a shower during the day. For example, it helps cleans the sweat from a yoga class or refreshes you after a busy day at work before your evening plans.” Then there’s the 3-in-1 Benefit Oil that really shows off some of the natural ingredients they use. It’s silicone-free and rich in natural oils like coconut, avocado and grape seed. The multitasker is great for nourishing dry hair ends, as a pre-shampoo oil to treat damaged hair, or for giving strands natural shine.
“We take our impact on the planet very seriously and want to minimize our carbon footprint as much as possible,” Seal says. To ensure the bottles are completely recyclable, they feature a special label adhesive. “The new adhesive we have used has been specifically designed to work with the recycling process we have in the USA,” says Seal. “The adhesive works like any other before and during use, but when this bottle goes to the recycling facility and gets cleaned, our adhesive becomes sensitive to this cleaning process and peels off quickly. This means that the plastic from the bottle can be fully recycled and used again and again.” Plus, all of their bottles are made from recycled materials, so they don’t need to use new plastic, saving greenhouse gases and reducing plastic waste.
To lower their impact, they focus on ethically and naturally sourced ingredients. “Love Beauty and Planet uses a key fragrance ingredient in each of our products that comes from the responsible sourcing program established by our fragrance partner Givaudan, which ensures that these ingredients meet high standards in health and safety, social, environmental and business integrity,” Seal says. “Their approach aims to secure precious natural ingredients without contributing to the loss of biodiversity and while bolstering the livelihoods of the local partners who produce them.” Each wash product in the range contains organic coconut oil, and a hero ingredient such as Argan oil or murumuru butter. They were chosen not only for being great ingredients that are known for their various hair and skin benefits, but also because Love Beauty and Planet seeks to source them responsibly or organically. For example, their Murumuru Butter comes from partners who source it responsibly from the Amazon rainforest.
To cut down on shower time, they have developed game-changing water-saving technology. “When you add water to rinse our conditioners out of your hair, our fast-rinse technology helps break down the conditioner into many smaller molecules quickly, which can rinse out of your hair faster and save you time and water,” Seal says.
Brands like Love Beauty and Planet and Seed Phytonutrients prove that eco-friendly beauty lines can make a difference. “We believe that beauty can, and should be, sustainable,” Wolf says. “Each person in the U.S. creates 4.4 pounds of solid waste each day, of which 30 percent is attributed to packaging. In a given year, this equates to roughly 133 pounds of packaging waste, a statistic we wanted to alter. You can think of it like this: our packaging likely started as a cardboard box, and our process gives it a second—or maybe even a third—life, and we think that’s pretty cool.”GO TO SITE