The zero waste philosophy is gaining momentum as more and more consumers are affected by natural disasters and dwindling natural water resources. Better informed consumers will no longer tolerate egregious waste like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a direct consequence of years of indiscriminate abuse of single-use plastics. Moving forward, focusing efforts on reducing packaging is not enough; there is far greater potential for “out-of-the-box” thinking from manufacturers and brands at every stage of the beauty supply chain, said the market research and analysis firm.
Over the next five years, the focus on sustainability will reach new heights around the world as environmentally conscious consumers look for ways to reduce waste in all aspects of their lives, including their beauty and personal care routines. Brands that purposely create limited shelf life products or encourage overconsumption run the risk of consumer backlash. Consumers will demand that brands be more environmentally responsible and take accountability for their actions.
“‘Sub-Zero Waste' is not just a trend; it's a movement towards a ground-shaking new archetype for the beauty and personal care industry,” said Andrew McDougall, associate director, Mintel Beauty & Personal Care. “Some companies are already discussing completely removing packaging from the equation. Whether reducing or eliminating waste altogether, if brands don't change their approach now, they will become insignificant. Brands that place current profits ahead of making the necessary investment in zero waste and sustainability will not be around in the future.”
According to McDougall, indie brands might already be at an advantage.
"We’re seeing that some indie brands have the upper hand with regard to sustainable beauty as they have built their business practices around ethics and environmentally friendly practices. Larger brands must adopt new practices in order to catch up with these smaller, more nimble competitors. Consumers today are paying a lot more attention to their impact on the planet and climate change calls are more drastic than ever before. A bigger-picture focus is needed throughout the beauty and personal care industry supply chain for a true zero waste mentality,” he said.