Haircare brand Kevin Murphy has announced a huge win for the environment, stating that next year they will begin producing their packaging from 100% recycled plastic sourced from the ocean. According to the brand, they will be the first beauty brand in the world to do so.
According to Plastic Oceans, 300 million tons of plastic is produced globally each year, with over eight million tons of it being dumped into our oceans annually. Zero Waste also reports that over 120 billion units of mostly-non-recyclable packaging is produced globally by the cosmetics industry every year.
Kevin Murphy’s move towards recycled material is said to save more than 360 tons of new plastic each year. The new recycled packaging will debut globally halfway through next year.
“This change is for the future of our environment and for us to be truly sustainable; to clean up our oceans for the sake of our planet and for future generations,” says Murphy. “Most other companies incorporate ocean plastic as a fraction of what they use, but we wanted to make a 100% switch.”
He is of course referring to brands outside the aesthetics industry that have already implemented portions of ocean waste into their packaging, including Dell and Adidas.
It’s not just plastic packaging either that’s causing major concern when it comes to ocean waste, but the actual ingredients within beauty products. For example, the spotlight is continuing to shine on plastic microbeads within abrasive exfoliants, and brands focused on sustainability are now sourcing environmentally-friendly, natural alternatives, such as jojoba beads or walnut kernals.
Most brands are now rapidly switching to ensure the majority of their packaging is recyclable, compostable and/or reusable, and doesn’t cause harm to wildlife when entering waterways. Leading the charge is New Zealand brand AU Natural Skinfood, whose packaging is 100% recyclable, compostable and/or reusable in its entirety, including shipping material for online purchases – also a world first.
This move by Kevin Murphy truly raises the bar for the beauty industry (and indeed, every industry) when it comes to recycled packaging. While plenty of brands’ products are now reusable or recyclable, this new KM packaging commitment aims to both reduce existing waste and prevent further production of new packaging material – a rare focus across all consumer products.
The industry shift has likely been spurred by Unilever’s commitment last year toward sustainability, which will see Omo, Dove, Surf, Sunsilk, and Tresemmé products be reusable and recyclable, and all its plastic packaging to be composed of 25% recycled materials, by 2025.
Some additional sustainable brands we love include Medik8, whose glass bottles in the UK use 40% recycled glass, and Burt’s Bees, whose cleansing towelettes are made with recycled cotton.