Zero waste bathroom sustainable lifestyle: natural eco bamboo toothbrush, coconut soap, handmade detergent, crystal deodorant, bamboo ear sticks. “Better informed consumers will no longer tolerate egregious waste like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a direct consequence of years of indiscriminate abuse of single-use plastics,” states Mintel. - Photo: © Bogdan Sonjachnyj /

If brands don’t change their approach now, they won’t exist in the future. Beauty and personal care businesses must switch to a whole new paradigm in terms of sustainability and zero waste. Some companies are already discussing totally circumventing packaging. This is not just a trend, it is a movement,” states Mintel in the introduction of its new report, Sub-Zero Waste’ 2019 Global Beauty and Personal Care Trend.

Reducing packaging is not enough

According to the market intelligence agency: “Over the next five years, the focus on sustainability will reach new heights as environmentally conscious consumers look for ways to reduce waste in all aspects of their lives, including their beauty and personal care routines.

All around the world, consumers are already paying a lot more attention to their impact on the planet. For instance:

 44% of US natural/organic personal care consumers, who buy a mix of mainstream and natural/organic brands, say they live sustainably;
 74% of beauty and personal care consumers in Spain are concerned that the ingredients used in natural products are not sustainable;
 54% of Brazilians who are potential buyers of green/ethical products say they purchase sustainable/ environmentally friendly goods because they don’t like to waste.

The zero waste philosophy is gaining momentum. “Better informed consumers will no longer tolerate egregious waste like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a direct consequence of years of indiscriminate abuse of single-use plastics,” states Mintel.

Brands that purposely create limited shelf life products or encourage overconsumption run the risk of consumer backlash. Consumers will demand that brands be more environmentally responsible and take accountability for their actions.

In such a context, “focussing efforts on reducing packaging is not enough”. Consumers will expect more ambitious endeavours and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking from manufacturers and brands at every stage of the beauty supply chain.

The dawn of a total lifestyle shift

’Sub-Zero Waste’ is not just a trend; it’s a movement towards a ground-shaking new archetype for the beauty and personal care industry. Some companies are already discussing completely removing packaging from the equation. Whether reducing or eliminating waste altogether, if brands don’t change their approach now, they will become insignificant. Brands that place current profits ahead of making the necessary investment in zero waste and sustainability will not be around in the future,” says Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, Mintel Beauty and Personal Care.

Some indie brands have built their business practices around ethics and environmentally friendly products. For instance, French colour cosmetics brand La Bouche Rouge Paris, features reusable / refillable luxury lipstick packaging made from leather. But the brand wants to go further and is working to find a viable vegan plastic-free and luxurious alternative to leather to meet all its clients’ expectations.

And several more established brands have already joined the movement. For its debut foundation range, Lush Cosmetics has launched a 100% plastic-free product. From L’Oréal, to Henkel and Unilever, multinationals are massively jumping on the natural cosmetics bandwagon, simultaneously paying increased attention to the impact of their packaging. In the meantime, suppliers are multiplying eco-friendly options, from recycled glass to post-consumer plastics, and accelerate their investments in ecofriendly processes and products. To support the development of these alternatives, major beauty brands do not hesitate to invest in innovative start-ups. Last week, Finnish producer of wood-based resins Sulapac, announced that Chanel took stake in the company.

There’s no doubt that ‘Sub-Zero Waste’ will transform the beauty and personal care industry over the next five years and will evolve in ways even we can’t predict over the next decade,” concludes Mintel.