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'Eco-beauty enthusiasts': Packaging as important as the product

New breed of beauty products goes beyond skin deep, with products that make her look good as she also helps reduce the carbon footprint.

They’re known as “eco-beauty enthusiasts,” and they’re gaining the attention of marketers of cosmetics products. For these consumers of everything from fragrances to lipstick to mascara, cosmetics products not only have to provide them with benefits to their personal appearance, but the packaging also has to satisfy their desire to reduce their carbon footprint on the environment.

“In my bathroom, I want products that are good for me, good for the earth, that will make me look glam. And, the product, too, has to look good,” blogger Chloé Jo Davis says in a New York Times article.

The article cites supportive research from Mintel on the scope of the eco-beauty enthusiast. In 2009 research, Mintel found that 20% of women 25 to 34 years old believed that a body lotion’s “eco-friendly packaging” mattered as much to them as the product’s anti-aging properties. A year earlier, a separate Mintel study determined that 40% of women surveyed stated that eco-friendly packaging contributed to their makeup-purchasing decisions.

Beauty industry product marketers, including Estée Lauder, are beginning to respond to this trend with new products and packaging that court the eco-friendly shopper. Estée Lauder Chief Environmental Officer John Delfausse says in the article that progress is being made, but he lamented the challenge of finding suitable components that make some packages completely green.

To add some context to the article, the author cites Environmental Protection Agency data indicating that packaging makes up 25% of landfill waste in the U.S. However, that figure includes lots of PET bottles, glass packages, and other packaging forms that are recyclable, but consumers instead put them in the trash.

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