Judging a Book by Its (Green) Cover

Judging a Book by Its (Green) Cover

Posted by Sonia Bellini on

The first step to real change always begins with understanding our existing reality. The way we live our lives today, we understand that it’s impossible to avoid plastic entirely. Although it may be difficult initially, the shift to green beauty brands is easier in the end. As more people support companies that have fully fleshed out their commitment to the environment, we will continue to see a shift in how brands handle every aspect of production - not just on sourcing sustainable ingredients.

Bellini’s is committed to finding not only the best, most luxurious and sensorial products for skin, hair, and home, but also to supporting brands that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. We wanted to take a moment to cover the changes we have made in store to be more sustainable, as well as highlight our brands that go above-and-beyond in terms of environmental protection. We have covered how our brands are sustainable from an ingredient focus (you can read our blogs Eco Friendly (Hair) Brands, Eco Friendly Skin and Home Goods, Eco Friendly Home Brands, and About Phytomer and Blue Beauty to learn about that), so now we are taking a slightly different approach: packaging.

What Is Green Beauty?

The term green beauty refers to beauty products sourced, produced, and packaged ethically and sustainably. Generally speaking, “green beauty” is an umbrella term that refers to natural skincare made with natural ingredients, but it also extends to hair care, home goods, and fragrance.

Unfortunately, terms like green, clean, and natural are not regulated, it can be difficult to find products that are both effective and environmentally friendly.

Updated in 2022, the USFDA states on their website that "the term organic is not defined in either of these laws or the regulations that FDA enforces under their authority." While the same is said in the UK, in 2021 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released a 6-point guide for consumers to determine if a company was truly green or not. It seems that although there is awareness about the mislabeling of products as green beauty, there are no laws in place to protect consumers. This is why, on top of researching and synthesizing information to provide in digestible blogs, we also blatantly do not carry products that are not up to our quality standards at Bellini's.

For this reason, we have detailed how the brands we carry are continually raising standards for green and clean beauty. We will be focusing on packaging related sustainability, but if you are interested in learning about how each brand is committed to ingredient sustainability, read our other blogs previously mentioned.

Is Green Beauty Different Than Clean Beauty?

Clean beauty is best known for avoiding ingredients that are considered toxic by the public, but not necessarily by science. For example, there was a trend on social media to avoid glycerine in your skincare, when this ingredient is greatly beneficial to the skin. This humectant helps trap moisture in your skin, and is quite versatile in form. Some products that contain glycerin are Yonka's Lotion PS Toner for Dry Skin, and SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3. 

Sometimes the push for clean beauty can lead consumers to harmful or inappropriate alternatives, such as using lemon juice to brighten the skin, or using pure witch hazel toner. While witch hazel is a wonderful ingredient in toners for oily skin, it is not applicable for all skin types. These are just a few examples of how the push for green beauty can be misrepresented.

When you come into Bellini's, you will see an entire wall practically lined top to bottom with different skincare products. This is because skin is nuanced. We have over 200 different skincare products to account for differences in skin texture, Fitzpatrick types, skin concerns, age, and lifestyle preferences, just to name a few. When you see our wall of professional skincare, you will begin to wonder why everyone is told to use something like witch hazel on their skin, or why some influencers swear by a product when it doesn't work the same for you.

One of the reasons we carry so many products is to accommodate for each person's needs. What works best for one person might not work for another, regardless of it is considered green or clean. While skin type remains the same throughout your life, skin condition changes. This change is what we are Bellini's are attuned to, and help to keep your skin in balance regardless of changes. Even when products do work, we recommend switching your routine up periodically so you get the most benefits from your products.

In Europe, the push for green and sustainable beauty brands has increased as well, but mindsets are slightly different. Because Europe is already more strict in what ingredients they have approved for consumers, their products will be held to a higher standard. From the get, these brands have a head start in green and sustainable beauty. The difference with European beauty brands is that often they do not label themselves are green or clean, simply because it is implied by the practices. You may see Yonka specifies the percentage of organic ingredients used in a product, but it is at most 99% natural ingredients. This is because there still need to be synthetic ingredients used to preserve or suspend a product. 

Why Switch to Green + Clean Beauty Brands?

Consider the fact that our skin is our largest organ and absorbs up to 70% of what we apply topically, and healthy hair of average porosity can absorb water up to a maximum of 31.1% by weight. It makes sense that picking products that support healthy hair and skin is pivotal in achieving the results you desire.

Although there are plenty of ingredients that still require further study, there are many that are confirmed as harmful or controversial for the human body and the environment. For example, several medical studies have pointed out that chemicals such as phthalates can disrupt hormones. In July 2018, Hawaii signed a bill that banned a chemical in sunscreens by 2021, as they have been confirmed to cause harm to the delicate coral reef eco-systems and other marine life. As a side note, did you know that COOLA sunscreen was the first brand to be certified reef safe? These are just some of the reasons why green beauty is a smart decision—for your own health and the earth.

A quick way to understand if your skin and beauty products are recyclable is by checking the label. The most common recycling symbol is the Mobius loop, which appears as a triangle with three arrows moving in a clockwise direction. Typically, colored arrows indicate that a product is recyclable, while clear arrows indicate that products are conditionally recyclable and should be returned in-store for recycling.

For glass bottles and containers, another way to gauge the product's recyclability is to look at its color. Containers that are transparent, brown or green are the preferred colors when recycling glass.

BELLINI'S INITIATIVES

An exciting new development has occurred in store! We have switched our shipping practices to include more sustainable and eco friendly practices, such as replacing bubble wrap with crinkle cut paper made of recycled paper content and dyed with non-toxic and water soluble inks.

In addition, we have recently switched over from traditional tissue paper to branded tissue paper. With this, we found a producer that would make us tissue paper that is made of FSC-certified, recycled paper and is fully home-compostable. We also only use paper shopping bags, which are made from at least 40% recycled kraft paper. 

We believe that helping to preserve our planet is non-negotiable, and will always stay true to our commitment to sustainability.

RevitaLash Cosmetics

It should be no surprise that a hair-growth serum does not use 100% natural ingredients. If natural ingredients promoted hair growth and curl, then my brother would have seen success after rubbing raw ginger on his bald spot. It should be noted that not everything natural is beneficial, or safe, for human consumption - for example, hemlock, rhubarb leaves, and tobacco leaves are all considered harmful if ingested, poison oak is irritating if touched, and carbon monoxide is dangerous to inhale. Everything listed is considered natural, but you wouldn't want any of it in your beauty routine. This is why we want to stress the importance of not discounting a brand because they are not 100% natural. In addition, every ingredient can be broken down into their chemical composition, which may make the product appear to be using chemicals, when in reality it broke down the composition of a blueberry.

In kicking off their eco-journey, Revitalash decided it was best to bring in an accredited sustainability expert to guide their process; someone who understands the technicalities of “greening”, including improving carbon footprint, minimizing impact, etc. - and how those things should be measured. RevitaLash's sustainability expert advised them to start at home, as that’s where they could make the quickest impact, and expand outward from there. Below are some improvements they have made thus far:

  • Revitalash packaging and cello wrapping is now 100% recyclable
  • All single use plastics, including single use coffee-pods, in Revitalash's office have been removed and replaced with sustainable alternatives
  • All cleaning products used have been switched from “F” grade to “A” grade in terms of eco-friendliness
  • In the process of getting certified as a green business in Ventura County
  • Auditing trash output and implementing strict recycling policies
  • Training employees how to recycle

Heal Your Hair With ILES Formula Hair Care

A good hair care routine starts with self-love. Iles Formula believes everyone deserves high-performance hair care solutions. That's one of the reasons why all of their formulas include powerful, raw ingredients that are kinder to the planet – a benefit for all of us.

The Iles Formula key ingredients are raw and virgin, but they don’t stop there. Iles Formula founder Wendy Iles knew the results she needed to achieve before she started. Because of her perseverance and professional experience, doing hair campaigns worldwide for over 3 decades, she searched long and hard to make these ingredients perform to her exacting standards, demonstrating what high technology can do, to wake up raw, fresh, virgin ingredients, and succeeded in achieving phenomenal results through her decades with hair and her sheer passion for nurtured and healthy hair.

These ingredients are harvested with not only the planet in mind, but the people, too. Many indigenous tribes in the Amazon have traditionally been pushed out in order to make way for businesses to harvest the land. In contrast, ILES partners with the native Indigenous Amazonian communities to sustainably harvest these ingredients. The wild harvesting of these precious fruits from the forest floor contains the most effective rejuvenating antioxidants among all super-fruits.

ILES sources ingredients with concern for the land, the environment, and the farmer’s welfare. What they take are the fruits, the nuts, and juices of plants, specially harvested from the floors of the rainforest. There is no forced farming of the land. The strategy is to help preserve the forest by paying local communities more for continuing to harvest seeds and fruits from local trees than by cutting the trees down for commercial value.

The Amazon is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth, with more than three million species living in the rainforest and more than 2,500 tree species, which makes up one-third of all tropical trees that exist on earth — it should be important to us all. That is why ILES is so determined to source natural ingredients, and why Wendy Iles herself contributes to planting 40 native tree seedlings a month in the Amazon rainforest.

Save the Amazon With Rahua Amazon Beauty

Rahua’s product packaging is recyclable, reusable, and many are refillable. We are always refining which products we carry in order to achieve the greatest array of sustainable, refillable, and eco-friendly home goods, hair care, and skin care. Their powerful plant derived, organic ingredients create high-performance and concentrated formulas that allow for less consumption, while delivering superior luxurious quality. 

In addition, one of Rahua’s continual efforts in preserving the health of our world comes in the form of their One Bottle = One Acre initiative. For each bottle of Rahua sold, you are helping Rahua preserve one acre of rainforest by helping native communities protect and preserve existing oxygen producing trees in the Amazon Rainforest. Each bottle or refill you buy directly impacts these communities and helps preserve and protect the vital biodiversity and lush jungle in the Amazon rainforest. 

Be Eco-Responsible With Renaissance Glove

At the end of 2020, Renaissance Glove completely redid their product packaging. They developed a new box concept that eliminates the additional printed instructions - that means less paper waste. They also eliminated the unnecessary plastic that was part of their original packaging. Finally, they chose a paper that represents their values and origins: one made entirely of recyclable materials and sourced from eucalyptus forests that are renewable in only 7 to 10 years. This renewability of eucalyptus is much faster than traditional printing paper, and is a lovely way to bring the product's sustainability to the packaging itself. In addition to changing their packaging, Renaissance Glove introduced the option for local pickups in order to avoid additional greenhouse gases.

The Plastic Free Journey at Essence of Harris

Essence of Harris is constantly striving to make their production processes more eco-friendly, and to reducing single-use plastic. Although bubble wrap is currently still used throughout order fulfillment, they are actively introducing alternative packing like Hexcel Paper (which is fully compostable and is a great alternative to bubble wrap). Since their products come directly from a Scottish Isle, it is quite the challenge to keep glass and essential oils from being damaged in transit. We feel that using recyclable packaging, such as the air cushions that Essence of Harris uses, is an ongoing development that begins with a single step. Over time, these small steps add up to create a beautiful change.

For example, Essence of Harris began using 100% recyclable tape on their boxes, rather than traditional sticky tape, as well as the use of 100% biodegradable starch packing peanuts.

LUMIRA's Responsible Consumption and Production

Not only does LUMIRA believe in making environmentally conscious decisions when sourcing both raw materials, but also for the vessels that house them.

  • They only use colored glass for their products, as it’s 100% recyclable.
  • Their warehouse and head office in Sydney, Australia, is powered by solar energy and recycles all possible materials.

LUMIRA's packaging has been refined over the years to feel luxurious while also being environmentally responsible. All their paper packaging is recyclable and our cardboard packaging is also made from recycled materials. They only use colored glass for our candle vessels so if they’re not repurposed around the home or office, they can be recycled in regular household recycling.

Jurlique's Ongoing Sustainability Efforts

Phytomer’s Packaging Changes

When Mathilde Gédouin-Lagarde, granddaughter to Phytomer founder Jean Gédouin, took over the brand, her first initiative was to make the brand more sustainable. Although Phytomer has always been a ward of the ocean, there was some improvements that could be made in regards to packaging.

Since 2022, Phytomer has since replaced their plastic jars with glass containers, and are currently working on an organic membrane to offer refills in. This would reduce both glass consumptions, as well as improve freight efficiency. In addition, they have:

  • Recyclable plant-based tubes
  • Packaging made with natural paper from sustainably managed forests
  • Recyclable glass jars
  • PET bottles that can be recycled up to 8 times

It’s estimated that for every 100 pounds a vehicle carries, fuel efficiency decreases up to two percent. For this reason, it’s important to minimize unnecessary weight, such as the weight added by packaging materials. This is why offering refills to products is and will create a positive impact to our planet! 

One aspect of Phytomer's shipping that you may not be aware of is that everything is shipped using biodegradable loose fill packaging chips made from corn starch, as opposed to styrofoam packing peanuts. This packaging material dissolves in water, and can also be used in compost.

COOLA is Sustainable in Style

We are all a product of our environment, and COOLA embodies this with everything they do. They are deeply committed to improving the health and safety of their communities, waterways, and habitats through responsible ingredient sourcing and sustainable packaging wherever possible. Some of the ways they do this is by:

  • Using glass for products - over 80% of their product containers are made of glass
  • Reducing plastic where possible - all of their plastic tubes are made of over 40% post-consumer recycled material
  • Using recycled materials for shipping and secondary packaging (e.g. cartons and boxes)
  • Ensuring recyclability of products - over 75% of their products are completely recyclable

Yonka’s Tangible Environmental Actions

Yon-Ka works every day to use more eco-friendly processes, including containers, packaging materials, and promotional tools with a lower impact on the environment. Some of these initiatives include:

  • All of their plastic tubes (PP or HDPE) are recyclable in French recycling channels (because, well, they're based in France)
  • 20% of their retail products are in 100% recyclable glass bottles
  • All labels are printed on 100% recyclable paper from sustainably managed forests (FSC)
  • Instructions are being printed inside boxes to reduce excess paper

In addition one of Yonka's FSC packaging suppliers (Iggesund, a Swedish company) is one of the 100 companies most committed to sustainable development in the world, according to the United Nations Global Compact index. This shows that Yonka goes beyond their immediate vicinity to support and work with other companies that value the environment.

PRIORI Skincare is Plastic Neutral

What does it mean to be plastic neutral? In sum, it means to remove as much plastic from nature as the company uses in their products. Priori has partnered with a recycling company to create a neutral impact on the environment. They did this by:

  1. Establishing their plastic/carbon footprint and creating a percentage goal towards removing nature-bound plastic waste
  2. Funding the elimination of plastic waste our oceans and landfills (with the help of rePurpose Impact Projects)
  3. Reducing the amount of virgin plastic used and build a more circular business and delivery model

“I have always struggled with single-use plastics in our industry. While there is no perfect solution yet, we believe that working to offset our plastic footprint is a great first step while we continue our efforts towards sustainability.” — Regis Haberkorn, President and Co-Founder

So how is this done? Priori accomplishes these goals by financing waste management infrastructure and empowering the marginalized workers who are working on the frontline of our plastic waste crisis. They also ensure their products are highly concentrated, thus reducing the frequency at which products are needed and used, as well as increasing the efficiency of freight deliveries.

PCA SKIN

PCA SKIN® not only strives to be forward-thinking in the innovation and development and sustainability of their products, but also in how they source packaging materials.

In 2007, PCA SKIN® made a major change to their packaging, and moved away from traditional packing peanuts to completely biodegradable cornstarch peanuts - something we love to see from our brands! In addition to all of their packaging components being recyclable, they also switched to using Forest Service Approved (FSA) paper for all printing material.

In their global headquarters, they have a robust recycling program, as well as a “living wall” of NASA-identified plants that further purify the air in the working environment. How cool is that?

SkinCeuticals Initiatives

Sustainability is not the first thing one thinks of when thinking about the medical field, but SkinCeuticals is dedicated to breaking these boundaries. Some of the ways they focus on this is by incorporating recycled glass into their serum bottles, with the goal of decreasing their consumption of virgin glass by 100 tons! In addition to reducing virgin glass, they are committed to using less virgin plastic, and are introducing recycled plastic in their packaging. By 2025, they aim for 50% of their packaging materials to be made of recycled or bio-based materials.

Charles Farris' Environmental Policy

Charles Farris was established in 1845 manufacturing candles for the institutions and people of London. Its tradition of candle-making artisanship continues to this day in rural Wiltshire whilst it still holds a retail presence in London. They feel it is a corporate responsibility to protect the environment, which they do so by:

  • Minimizing waste via creating and sustaining efficient operations
  • Minimizing pollution and reducing the impact on the environment.
  • Actively promoting recycling both internally and amongst its customers and suppliers.
  • Efficient use of water and energy.
  • Sourcing and promoting a product range to minimize the environmental impact of both production and distribution
  • Implementing a training program for staff to raise awareness of environmental issues and enlist their support
  • Supporting environmental initiatives in their local community.

Walk Well With Gehwol

From initial product concept through distribution, every aspect of the Gehwol line is evaluated to ensure they remain true to their commitment to distribute the greenest products possible. They have established Green Goals for their company that they adhere to. This commitment has afforded Gehwol the opportunity to lower energy consumption and reduce waste.

Some of Gehwol's Green Goals include:

  • Saving energy
  • The efficient use of water
  • Reducing CO2 emissions
  • Buying, selling and using environmentally friendly products when the marketplace allows

Many people may not know this, but several parts of Oregon are considered a rainforest- just not a tropical one. Oregon has several temperate rainforests, and is alive throughout the year with salmon runs, a large variety of vegetation and old-growth trees, and epiphytes. Living in this beautiful land only further reinforces our dedication to preserving the natural beauty we were gifted.

This map of Oregon shows a breakdown in the areas and varieties of rainforests we have. From Ponderosa pines to Douglas fir, the variety of life you see in a  temperate rainforest is truly magnificent, and we are grateful to share our passion with you.

 You may have also noticed that some of the brands we mentioned were not completely recyclable. Part of the reason for this is not that the companies are using bad product packaging choices, it's that there is not a sustainable industry for recycling certain materials.

Much like how cows and chickens became domesticated partially due to preference, the American recycling system tends to support recycling practices for the more commonly requested materials, like glass. In short, something is really only recyclable if there is a substantial likelihood that there is a viable market willing to purchase and re-use the collected material.

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition states that something is recyclable, “if it can be collected, sorted, reprocessed and ultimately reused in manufacturing or making another item”. This leads us back to the topic of our blog today: sustainable packaging on sustainable products. Until there is a standardization of what is recyclable - which includes the industries to gather, sort, process, and redistribute the materials, and an industry to transform the raw materials back into something a company desires - then there will be leeway for brands to abuse the label green, clean, and sustainable. 

We commend our brands for spearheading this topic in their respective communities, and are proud to share our brands with you. In regards to recycling, we recommend you contact your local municipality or waste management company for an accurate answer on what they can recycle. 

Resources

https://www.revitalash.com/blogs/news/q1-impact-report-philanthropy-sustainability-and-ethos

https://rahua.com/pages/faq?_pos=1&_sid=8d6dd7499&_ss=r

https://rahua.com/pages/sustainability

https://ilesformula.com/pages/ingredients?gad=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwzJmlBhBBEiwAEJyLu6zn9sdsvTKPWWb3kkDzqJDvt-xhShb3vFJR0UGLa7R63JC9Fs2HDRoCX2gQAvD_BwE

https://ilesformula.com/pages/sustainability

https://ilesformula.com/pages/faq

https://oregonforests.org/content/forest-type-interactive-map

https://www.garnier.in/hair-care-tips/what-is-green-beauty-and-why-is-it-important#:~:text=The%20term%20green%20beauty%20refers,products%20in%20our%20beauty%20products.

https://www.impact.repurpose.global/priori-skincare

https://www.skinceuticals.com/sustainability-page.html

https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-labeling-claims/organic-cosmetics#:~:text=No.,FDA%20enforces%20under%20their%20authority.

https://greenclaims.campaign.gov.uk/#what_are_green_claims_

https://www.pcaskin.com/the-green-scene

https://www.gehwolfootcare.com/our-green-statement/

https://renaissanceglove.com/blogs/exfoliation-peau/eco-responsables-ensemble

https://coola.com/pages/sustainability

https://charlesfarris.co.uk/environmental-policy

https://essenceofharris.co.uk/blogs/news/our-plastic-free-journey

https://www.atelierlumira.com/en-us/blogs/journal/three-things-to-look-for-when-choosing-an-eco-friendly-candle

https://www.atelierlumira.com/pages/sustainability

https://jurlique.com/pages/sustainability

https://hc-sustainable.com/what-makes-something-recyclable/#:~:text=In%20short%2C%20something%20is%20really,re%2Duse%20the%20collected%20material.

https://sustainablepackaging.org/101-what-is-recyclability/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study

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