How The Ban On Single Use Plastic Affects Cosmetic Products

Clare Cherry

Posted on April 01 2019

Woman with a handful of glitter to emphasise ban on single use plastic

In 2018, the cosmetic and beauty industry created over 142 billion single-use units of plastic packaging, with most of it ending up in the ocean or landfill. The beauty industry is often glamourised as being a glittering place filled with beautiful colours and bottles of lotions and potions, but it also has an ugly side. Most of the plastic packaging, and even the cosmetics themselves, are not recyclable and often come wrapped in cardboard, tissue paper, plastic and boxed which, after opening, are thrown in the bin.

Plastic and its impact on the environment has recently become a global issue, with many countries implementing a ban on single use plastic in a worldwide attempt at getting rid of 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution by 2040. But, how does this ban on single use plastic affect the cosmetic industry?


Cosmetics, along with many other products, will now require a complete redesign. The UK imposed a limited ban on single use plastic in the form of plastic microbeads, which many cosmetic companies used. This ban was focused on toothpaste, shower gel and shaving foam, but also included products such as face powder and scrubs. There is also a focus on the impacts of “leave-on” cosmetics, which includes moisturisers and soaps, as they are not currently included in the ban on single use plastic.

A product and packaging redesign is currently being campaigned for all major cosmetic and beauty companies. Some companies already use glass bottles and jars as iconic parts of their product design, but sometimes for safety and travel purposes, plastic must be used. There is currently work underway to create 100% recycled plastic bottles, which is expected to be finalised in 2025.

Rethinking Products

The ban on single use plastic across the globe has prompted cosmetic companies to rethink their designs and the way in which their products are made. Whether it’s solid shampoo bars, chewable toothpaste tabs or plastic-free wipes, almost every popular beauty and cosmetic product has had to have a major transformation when it comes to the ingredients they use and the way their products are made.

Our sparkle pots are now biodegradable so that you can enjoy guilt-free and eco-friendly sparkle. Made from cellulose, our biodegradable glitter is made from ingredients which come from the cell walls of plants, making it fully biodegradable. We also use non-toxic ingredients to coat the glitter so that it has the same shiny effect we all love.

What’s The Next Step?

Although the ban on single use plastic is a great start, it is not the final answer. Now that there is a high level of interest in the issue, people are searching for quick and rapid solutions to solve it. There isn’t one solution which will fix the global issue, but small steps will help. In the beauty industry, certain companies will offer a discount if you return your plastic packaging to them for recycling, whereas others now sell refillable beauty products such as eyeshadow and lipstick. If other industries can make effective changes in just a few years, then the beauty industry, which is one of the largest plastic waste contributors, can too.

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