You’ve probably heard the term “zero waste” on the rise as brands respond to consumer demands for sustainable, high-quality products that don’t harm the planet. But what is zero waste beauty? And is it possible?
As far as we’re concerned, yes! While the cosmetics industry has a not-so-pretty past regarding its environmental impact, its future is starting to look up. Izzy is just one company working to eliminate plastic use and preserve our world.
Since launching Izzy, founder Shannon Goldberg has always focused on creating clean, zero waste makeup. In fact, we’ve built our entire business model around it, using a model that eliminates waste and closes the supply chain loop. Best of all, eco-conscious beauty fans have the option to buy a single product or subscribe—regardless, our items are completely reusable and recyclable!
Now, we are also a U.S. Plastics Pact Reuse Catalyst Partner! This allows us to collaborate with the U.S. Pact and other like-minded entities to expand reusable and refillable packaging nationwide.
Discover what zero waste means to Izzy, why we are optimistic about the beauty industry's future, and what our new partnership means.
What Does Zero Waste Beauty Mean?
The cosmetics industry has long had a plastic problem, using 120 billion plastic packaging units annually. But this isn’t cutting it anymore, as consumers expect better from beauty companies.
The Upcycled Beauty Company shared in their recent Zero Waste Beauty Report that 91% of consumers prefer less packaging—and almost three-fourths of consumers worldwide said they’d pay more for sustainable packaging!
According to the report, in order to be truly zero waste, beauty brands must include:
Although refillable packaging has existed for some time, many of these systems are not very sustainable.
In terms of zero waste, refillable packaging means eliminating plastic completely. It also means doing away with the short-term use practices prevalent in consumer goods. Successful packaging circularity requires new supply chain partnerships and a shift in customer expectations and habits.
Endless Reuse & Reduced Emissions
A growing number of brands like Izzy are implementing infinitely recyclable packaging options. After all, even recycled plastics quickly lose their structural integrity and can no longer be reused—although many plastic pieces in makeup are too small to be recycled.
While more research and testing are necessary for non-plastic packaging materials, the possibilities are promising. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation noted in the report that refillable packaging in the beauty and personal care industry would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 85%!
Non-plastic + Eco-friendly Materials
You might’ve noticed a primary theme that begins with eliminating plastic. As the Zero Waste Beauty Report highlighted, there are plenty of sustainable, footprint-free packaging options, including seed-laced and dissolvable packaging. Izzy uses reusable shippers made from upcycled materials that can be reused repeatedly!
So, is a zero waste beauty industry realistic? We certainly believe so! Why? Two crucial factors:
1. Consumers are searching for conscientious products, and
2. Zero waste makeup brands are taking more control of their supply chains to close the sustainability loop.
And we’re just one of those companies embracing packaging circularity!
How Does Izzy Do Zero Waste Makeup?
Izzy founder Shannon Goldberg was appalled to learn that most packaging used in the beauty industry ends up in landfills or oceans, and only 9% of the world’s plastic has been recycled.
Shannon recognized the issue with post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, which can only be recycled once as their quality degrades. She also noted that other refillable makeup solutions have a permanent primary component but use single-use plastic refills.
Instead, Shannon and the Izzy team turned to medical-grade stainless steel and upcycled materials to achieve genuine zero waste.
Zero Waste Beauty Products
Izzy uses medical-grade stainless steel components in our zero waste beauty products. It can be safely washed and reused more than 10,000 times.
Next, we created a patent-pending triple cleansing process to remove excess goop and microbial buildup. All components are 100% reusable, refillable, and sanitary.
We even replaced the microplastics found in many cosmetic products by using a plant-based resin called POM ECO-B, which can be melted down and remolded into new wands and applicators! The only components we can’t reuse or recycle are the lip applicator tips, so we donate them to a company that makes cushions for school kids' chairs.
Zero Waste Shipping
Of course, zero waste beauty goes beyond the products and their components.
Izzy nixed all outer packaging, shipping all products in reusable mailers manufactured from upcycled materials. This means less cardboard waste and reduced fossil fuels to transport those cardboard materials!
Finally, we took complete control of our manufacturing and cleaning processes to ensure zero waste. Our antibacterial cleansing process reuses all water instead of dumping it into the ocean.
Additionally, we keep our supply chain within a 400-mile radius. Our stainless steel components are manufactured in New York, assembled in Massachusetts, and cleaned and shipped from New Jersey.
When all is said and done, our products contain 94% less plastic than the leading brands, and our carbon footprint is the lowest in the beauty industry!
What is a U.S. Pact’s Reuse Catalyst Partner?
The Reuse Catalyst is an initiative led by the U.S. Plastics Pact, Closed Loop Partners, the Reusable Packaging Association, and World Wildlife Fund. Together, these organizations work to develop and innovate reusable and refillable packaging across the country.
"Being part of a national strategy to drive circularity has always been a dream for Izzy. Not only is zero waste part of our brand ethos, we've made it a business imperative,” Shannon explains. “Combined with the U.S. Plastics Pact, we hope to scale meaningful solutions to transform the global economy and restore a thriving planet."
Izzy is the first zero waste makeup company to join other admirable Reuse Catalyst Partners, including sustainable activewear brand Vuori, reusable retail accessories supplier Pact Reuse, reusable takeout food container system Recirclable, and reusable shipping box supplier Bound.
Each partner must have a reusable or refillable packaging model that can gather data in areas like product performance, customer attitudes, and solid waste prevention. Businesses collect this information by distributing surveys to their customers, thus sharing crucial insights and helping to make industry-wide progress.
In return, Reuse Catalyst Partners gain custom support and benefits from the U.S. Pact, such as access to mentors, educational resources, and potential partnership opportunities. These resources help us continue innovating and making a difference.
And if you’re looking to make a difference starting with your beauty routine, browse Izzy’s zero waste makeup! Our A to Z sustainable processes allow you to enjoy high-quality products that help you look and feel your best.