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Interview

Learn How to Go Plastic Free from These Beauty Founders

totaltrashmamma
by @totaltrashmamma
Jul 08, 2022

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I cannot quantify all the trash I've gone through when it comes to beauty products. Plastic is a staple of the beauty industry: lipstick tubes, mascara wands, and don't get me started on the packaging.

This month in Plastic Free July and we want to reduce the amount of waste we are putting in the environment. Luckily there are some amazing brands that are striving to make clean beauty that is safe for the environment. Here are three of our favorite brands and their founders that are eliminating plastics.

Pooja Ganesan - Booni Doon

Pooja Ganesan is imperfectly sustainable. “You don't need to be a zero waste consumer in order to start supporting brands like mine,” says Pooja. She often finds herself getting a diet coke or buying other non-sustainable products, but she believes that consumers don’t need to be perfect at zero waste in order to move to a more sustainable future.

Pooja started Booni Doon in the Fall of 2019, after she realized she needed to be more mindful of her consumption. “I was the least sustainable person ever,” she says. She would “Uber everywhere, I got food delivered all the time, I just was constantly buying new stuff.” In an effort to reduce her eco footprint she started by going through the products in her bathroom.

Liquid products, like face wash, can be 70%-80% water. Pooja wanted a dry product that could be mixed with the water that’s already in your home. She started working with a biotech company in San Diego to create “a biosurfactant that is derived from the fermentation of vegetable oil.”

It was also a central focus on Booni Doon to use zero plastics. Pooja worked with a company in China to create bamboo lids for Booni Doon’s products. “It's hard to find people who are willing to work with you and are willing to do the extra effort in order to make sure that you're not compromising on your values,” she says.

Pooja wants to make sure the burden of sustainability is on the company. She believes in Ethical Producer Responsibility “where as the producer of a product should be responsible for the entire lifecycle of that product.”

Ericka Rodriguez - Axiology

Ericka Rodriguez has been working since childhood to make our world more ethical and sustainable. She started Axiology by mixing ingredients in her kitchen at home in an attempt to create vegan and cruelty free makeup. But Ericka doesn’t just want her products to benefit animals, she also wants them to benefit the environment.

“On Earth Day of this year, we actually decided to remove and discontinue all of the plastic that's that was in our line,” says Ericka. All of Axiology’s plastic packaging was removed and those products will be rereleased this fall with paper packaging.

In moving to paper, Ericka found that it was impossible to get manufacturing help. “We're hand wrapping each little Balmie, and cutting a little piece of tape for each little Balmie to secure the wrapping,” she says. “Everything we're doing is by hand and we've actually tried to search for machines before to help us and they just don't exist.”

Though Ericka only recently moved away from plastic for packaging on individual products, she has always used on recycled materials for boxes. Ericka works with a group in Bali (where trash is usually burned or thrown in the ocean) that uses traditional recycling methods to reusable paper products.

“We are currently working to become plastic negative certified,” says Ericka. Any plastic that ends up in Axiology’s laboratory or warehouse gets added up. The more plastic they have, the more money they pay to an organization that helps create waste management systems in developing nations.

Conny Wittke - superzero

Much like with face wash, shampoo and conditioner are majority water (80%-90%). Conny Wittke wanted to create a shampoo bar that has all the benefits of a salon quality product without any of the extra waste from unnecessary water usage and packaging. “Our whole proposition is in the name - super performance and zero harm,” says Conny.

Eliminating plastics from superzero products is not as easy as it may seem, getting rid of plastic bottles and moving to bars isn’t enough. “We use no plastic liners, a lot of the coatings you see on boxes are plastic.” This also means no inclusion of items that make packaging more appealing such as glitter or metallic finishes.

“The other side is we have zero microplastics,” says Conny. “Because microplastics are a gigantic health issue and environmental issue. We saw there's tons of microplastics in the beauty industry.” One of the biggest contributors of microplsatics is silicone, which is very common in beauty products.

superzero’s products are much smaller than traditional hair products. One shampoo bar has the same capabilities as a 8.4 ounce bottle of shampoo. So, when it comes to shipping and packaging their products the result is a lower carbon footprint.

However, marketing small items without plastic can also be a bit of an issue. “In retail, bigger is better,” says Conny. “You want to basically grab shelf space.”

But hurdles are not stopping Conny. superzero’s shampoo bars are climate neutral, and the company is part of 1% for the planet.

Final Thoughts

If you want to make strides to go plastic free yourself, remember that being zero waste imperfectly is better than not trying at all. One of the best steps you can take to reducing waste is shopping less. 'But shopping less? You just told us the to shop more?" Yes, I did. You should buy products that work and that you know you will use over and over again.

Tell us about your favorite plastic free brands and why you love them.


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