Packaging waste: Why beauty retailers are ditching gift wrap

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 16-Jan-2023

Over the past few years beauty brands have been replacing plastic wrap and Cellophane with more environmentally-friendly alternatives. But is this the correct route to head down?

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One of the most memorable scenes from 2003’s British rom-com Love Actually sees actor Rowan Atkinson play a department store employee over-packing a tiny gift.

His character wraps the item with layer upon layer of gift wrap, stacking boxes and potpourri, tying it all up with a bow in a bid to make the gift seem as luxurious as possible.

But what was humorous then now feels like a horror in 2023, as the beauty industry (albeit on a less comical level) still leans towards excess when it comes to packaging in the luxury sector.

The British Beauty Council has stated that packaging is one of the biggest sustainability challenges facing the beauty industry.

Just 14% of packaging makes it to recycling plants, with only 9% actually being recycled, according to its research. The rest heads directly to landfill.

Yet businesses across the globe are still working to reduce their impact on the planet, and in the beauty world this has seen brands scale back the use of both Cellophane and plastic wrap.

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