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Why We Should All Consider Plastic-Free Beauty

By Kristina Zabelin

We don’t need to tell you that plastic is a global pollution problem. You can see it on a local level just outside your door on your own street, or on a wide scale level when you read the news. You’ve heard the stats –11 million metric tons enter the ocean every year –and likely the complications that surround the recycling of it, meaning much of it is sent to landfill. And then there’s just what the beauty industry produces: 77 billion units globally. Yet unless governments put laws in place to tamp down on the production and use of it, global usage of the material could be tripled by 2060, according to estimates from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

But there’s beauty brands who are tackling one of the industry’s biggest issues on their own, such as Everist. Before they even knew what products they wanted to launch, founders Jessica Stevenson and Jayme Jenkins – who both logged time at big beauty brands – put all elements of their business under a microscope to ensure they would be free of plastic waste and minimize their impact on the environment. 


How is Everist addressing the plastic waste crisis?

The waterless cream formula of their shampoo, conditioner and body wash is packaged in 100% recycled and recyclable aluminum tubes, rather than a laminate/metal mix which is more common and not recyclable. Everist’s tubes can be melted down, while any product residue can be skimmed off. “Despite being more expensive and having high minimum quantities for direct printing – to avoid stickering and mixing materials – we chose aluminum because it maintains its integrity and resale value every time it’s recycled unlike plastic which can be downcycled once,” says Stevenson. “That’s if it even makes it that far – only nine per cent of plastic has ever been recycled, mainly because the economics are not there – it’s cheaper to make new plastic.” Another pro to using aluminum: it’s safe for the shower as opposed to glass and nope, it doesn’t rust.


What are the other benefits of the formula and packaging?

Because the formulas are so concentrated, an entire bottle of shampoo or conditioner can be housed in a 100ml travel-friendly aluminum tube. By being ⅓ of the size of conventional shampoo and conditioner, that also means less packaging and a lighter shipping footprint. The company also uses 100 % recycled and recyclable paper for their cartons and mailer boxes – that’s why it’s brown Kraft paper and not coloured. And they don’t tamper with the recyclability of the paper by using plastic shipping tape instead opting for paper-based labels and stickers.


What about the plastic cap on the tubes?

There is one plastic component to Everist’s packaging and that’s the twist-on cap which is necessary to protect the product. However, to compensate for having made that decision, the company has a CapBack program. To ensure the caps get a second life, they can be collected in the small cotton bag that’s provided until it’s full (approximately ten) and returned with a shipping label that’s emailed once requested. Once printed it can be used to return to the brand at no cost to the consumer. The hope is that they will eventually be pelletized and remolded into something new, like recycled plastic hair accessories.                                     


The bottom line

For every product you buy, you are preventing another plastic shampoo, conditioner or body wash bottle from heading to the landfill. At the same time, Jenkins and Stevenson recognize that despite the consumer's desire to be more conscious of their beauty buying choices, they also don't want to have to compromise on performance and experience. Hence their best in class formulas that still provide not only a similar gesture to conventional shampoo but provide exceptional results. 


And lastly…

The way things are being done at Everist is constantly evolving and improving. The company revisits their processes quarterly, ensuring they are tracking and offsetting their carbon impact 100% through Climate Neutral Certification. They are also a member of 1% of the Planet and support PlasticBank. “We value progress over perfection and are hopeful that we can help solve this environmental crisis together,” says Jenkins. And when consumers respond to all of the above by choosing to buy more sustainable products you are voting for the kind of world you want. “Consumer spending is what will shift industries,” says Jenkins. 


Lesa Hannah, October 14, 2022

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