The health and beauty industry has come to realize that many consumers want sustainable, responsible, recyclable options when buying cosmetics, shampoos and body creams. Some companies are addressing the problem of plastic packaging by turning to recyclable and compostable packaging. Others are tasked with changing their formulas to eliminate harmful chemicals and the use of palm oil. Still others are turning to refillable containers to help keep packaging out of landfills and over-taxed recycling plants.

by Humankind Hand Sanitizer


The mission of by Humankind is to reduce single-use plastic waste that results from our personal care products. Their approach, a blend of sustainability and practicality, is to offer products along with an attractive and durable refillable container.

In the case of their new hand sanitizer, the large 8 ounce bottle is designed to refill 4 travel-size plastic sanitizer bottles (think Purell small bottles).

The sanitizer is a moisturizing, alcohol-based gel formula consisting of 65% alcohol and Hyaluronic acid, a sugar found naturally in our skin that holds water and helps keep it hydrated. They offer both unscented and grapefruit. The bottle is made of aluminum which is widely recycled across the U.S.

The company donates $1 of each hand sanitizer sole to The Robin Hood Relief Fund, an organization providing emergency support to the New York City area.


The amount of plastic packaging on U.S. products (not just on personal care items) has increased by over 120 times since 1960—with almost 70 percent of that waste piling up in landfills.



The arrival of Lush was a humble one. The first shop was simply designed, and naked products did away with frivolous packaging—most money for this new business went into keeping things simple and sourcing fresh, quality ingredients. In fact, the Lush shops you see today aren’t much different than the very first Lush shop in England.

Today there are over 900 Lush stores worldwide, offering handmade cosmetics for bath, body, hair and skin care. From bar soaps to bath bombs, face and body to fragrances, their products are fresh and colorful and not tested on animals.

About half of their products come without packaging, and they are working to ensure that 100% of their packaging can be recycled.

The company cares about their impact on the planet and has instituted an ethical buying policy that consider workers’ rights, sustainability and regeneration, animal protection and limiting carbon emissions. They even have a carbon tax policy on business travel, and tax themselves at a rate of 50 pounds per metric ton. The money goes to fund climate change groups.

From the Lush web site:

We put an enormous amount of love and care into every product we make, and it’s important for us to work with suppliers who do the same.

When sourcing ingredients for our products, we like to know where they come from, how they’re made and how they impact the communities that produce them. To look into these questions, we have a dedicated Ethical Buying team that works hard researching and meeting with suppliers and producers to ensure that they—and the materials they sell—meet our standards.

We believe that every ingredient we buy should have a positive impact on the community from which it’s harvested. Buying from small-scale producer groups gives us the opportunity to drive positive change, encourage sustainability and form long-lasting relationships with people all over the world.


According to Zero Waste Week, more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced globally every year by the cosmetics industry, contributing to loss of 18 million acres of forest annually.

Patch Organic Strips


PATCH was born when James Dutton (the founder of Nutricare) noticed that while trying to protect his son’s adventure wounds his skin was in fact reacting badly to a common wound covering and making the wound worse. Dutton’s wish for a wound care product that wouldn’t cause nasty skin reactions and also serve as a way to help heal the wounds was the real reason for PATCH.

PATCH organic strips are a natural approach to wound care and sustainable substitute to regular band-aid strips. Crafted with 100% organic bamboo fiber with the added natural goodness of activated charcoal, aloe vera and coconut oil, they are free from plastic, silicon, latex, parabens, and any additional chemicals. They are also biodegradable, compostable, and cruelty free.

They are suitable for those with the most sensitive skin. Made with a gentle pressure-sensitive adhesive, they are hypoallergenic and safe to use on children and adults alike.

They come in a kids version with a pattern of little pandas, and are enriched with coconut oil to help avoid red marks or nasty reactions on the skin; a black strip version that includes activated charcoal to help wound healing, especially for bites, splinters and grazes; a plain version; and a tan version, enriched with Aloe vera to help speed wound healing.


Most band-aids are made from plastic, either PVC, polyethylene, or polyurethane. These single-use plastic items don’t break down and biodegrade.



In 2008, Julie Corbett envisioned an environmentally friendly bottle with an outer shell of recycled paper concealing a thin, plastic, recycled liner inside. The concept could, she believed, reduce carbon emissions by more than a third. And Ecologic, her packaging company, was born. By 2013, her busy factory in California was working with Seventh Generationand Nestlé.

L’Oreal’s Seeds Phytonutrients team approached them in 2016, asking for a package “that had to be recyclable and compostable—that meant glue was out. It also had to withstand a hot shower environment—when an uncoated paper container gets wet, it becomes soggy and falls apart, especially when shampoo suds further weaken the structure. And to reduce waste, the plastic pouch needed to be thinner than any other on the market.”

By adding a combination of earth minerals, Ecologic created a water-resistant paper bottle that could stand up to the pressures of a shower. Instead of glue, the bottle uses a clever interlocking design that’s just as sturdy. The interior liner (made with food-grade recycled plastic) is 60 percent thinner than typical plastic bottles. And the containers can be shipped nested, making them far more efficient to transport than traditional packaging.

Seeds Phytonutrients offers hair, face, and body care products, crafted for nourishment, potency, and sustainability. The company is committed to ingredient integrity, environmental sustainability, supporting independent American organic farmers, and preserving seed diversity.

Each paper bottle has an added surprise. After you’ve used up all of the product, crack open the bottle to discover a beautiful packet of heirloom herb seeds to grow in your garden.


40 percent of plastic produced is used for packaging, which is used just once and then discarded.

Kiehl’s Gentle Body Wash


Kiehl’s “Made for All” Gentle Body Cleanser is, as the name indicates, safe to use for just about everyone.  Whether you are tall or small, this shower gel is safe for all skin types and ages 3+. Made with 95% naturally-derived ingredients, this biodegradable body wash with sustainably sourced, hand-harvested Aloe Vera and Soap Tree Extract leaves skin feeling clean and fresh.

Beginning in 1851 as a natural apothecary, and still inspired by these roots, Kiehl’s uses powerful skincare ingredients drawn from nature and science within their unique formulas. They use recipes based on naturally derived ingredients (such as turmeric, avocado, coconut, lavender), limiting the need for chemicals which are unsustainable to produce and non-biodegradable. This makes a product that does good for user and environment in the long and short term: this product is C2C certified.

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. By setting forth rigorous parameters for product sustainability across the product life cycle from ingredient materials to material reuse, the standard provides a transformative framework for designing and making products in a manner that helps to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals associated with natural resource stewardship, social fairness and sustainable production and consumption.


In 1865, liquid soap was patented by William Shepphard. Despite this patent, liquid soap did not rise to popularity until 1898, when B.J. Johnson Soap Co. started selling Palmolive, a liquid soap which contained both palm and olive oils. It became so popular that Johnson was forced to rename his company Palmolive.