More than 10% of beauty products end up in waste

Published 03rd Apr 2024 by Talana Sodiwala

Over 10% of beauty products go to waste in brands’ supply chains, which equates to a staggering $4.8 billion (£3.8 million) worth of products destroyed annually, according to new statistics.

The new report from sustainable online retailer Boop also found that overproduction accounts for 6.2% of this waste and 4% comes from products disposed of due to damage or reaching their expiry date.

Why is there so much waste in the beauty industry?

The three main causes of the industry’s waste problem are: overproduction, packaging and imperfect stock. 

In fact, packaging makes up 70% of the beauty industry’s waste and 95% of cosmetic packaging is thrown away.

Reasons for overproduction of beauty products

Inaccurate record of stock by brands mean they can’t manage their items, resulting in products spending their shelf life deteriorating in a warehouse, according to the report.

Ambitious forecasting and trends such as Christmas edition sets and trend-driven packaging like the bright pink boxes used to promote the Barbie movie in 2023 contributed to waste, as they have short-term customer appeal. 

Consumer attitudes to sustainable beauty products

One in four consumers are prepared to pay more for sustainable products, according to Boop’s consumer survey. 

Over 95% of women said they’d happily buy imperfect products and 23% said they’d pay full price for those items. 

When it comes to incentives to purchase, 78% of consumers said that influencers had the biggest impact on their eco and green choices. 

As consumer knowledge around sustainability and greenwashing increases, it’s more important than ever for brands to consider how they manage their excess inventory and think about what they view as ‘waste

Boop founder Yasmine Amr

How to tackle waste in the beauty industry

Boop's online platform re-homes imperfect stock, selling products with minor flaws such as dents or transport damage.

Another example is the small-batch model used by beauty brand The Natural Africa, which produces a limited number of products each year to curb overproduction and uses durable and refillable glass bottles for sustainability.

Talana Sodiwala

Talana Sodiwala

Published 03rd Apr 2024

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