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Green Is The New Black

How to get your friends into sustainable cosmetics

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bin there done that

Have you been mocked or patronised for playing your part in conserving the environment? Bin There Done That is here to help. They are on a mission to raise awareness about sustainable cosmetics packaging to reduce packaging waste. And they have put together a few tips and tricks to get your friends on the green bandwagon with you.

Bin There, Done That (BTDT) is a non-profit environmental campaign by a group of passionate communication students from Nanyang Technological University. Through the educational campaign, they hope to raise awareness and reduce packaging waste generated by undergraduates aged 19 to 25 in Singapore. But these ideas are good for any age and can be cut and paste for other issues too.

For those who have been mocked for playing their part in conserving the environment, here are some suggestions by the ​Bin There, Done That team on how to encourage others to start on their own sustainability journey. When it comes to cosmetics, a lot more can be done to reduce the negative environmental impacts, and here is how to invite others to be greener with their cosmetics.

1. Start off with the facts

Singapore retailed a total of 142 million units of cosmetics packaging in 2019 alone. With a growing beauty and personal care market, the amount of packaging waste generated is set to continue increasing as cosmetic packaging is largely single-use. This includes more than just makeup and skincare products – daily personal hygiene items contributed to this too.

Cosmetics packaging waste has irreversible negative impacts on the environment. With its high carbon footprint from production to incineration, the vast amount of single-use products in the cosmetics industry is contributing to climate change. Singapore is already experiencing the effects of this, with the projected rise of mean temperature at 4.6°C, before the end of the century. Can Singaporeans imagine an even hotter Singapore?

Furthermore, with only 17% of waste getting recycled in Singapore, most of it ends up incinerated and stored in Singapore’s only landfill, Pulau Semakau. Which at this rate will run out of space by 2035, and a new landfill will have to be built every 30 to 35 years. This puts extra strain on land resources which are scarce in Singapore. With these facts, hopefully, others will feel the urgency and be more inclined to take action, one packaging at a time.

2. Cosmetics swaps, exploring second-hand marketplaces

Many have probably heard of clothing swaps, but cosmetics swaps exist too! At a beauty swap, people bring down their unwanted beauty products that are in perfect or lightly-used condition and exchange them for another item which they may need more. As people may be more hesitant to swap cosmetic products that are more personal, individuals can start small by swapping among their circle of friends first. If they are ready to take it to a larger scale, they can find out more about beauty swaps on ​Beauty Pantry or community groups on social media. Leftovers from a beauty swap can be gifted on freecycling groups such as ​Sharetings or sold at second-hand marketplaces like ​Beauty Pantry telegram channel, Carousell, or ​Facebook Marketplace​.

3. Try out a zero waste personal care routine together – bar soap, facial cleanser, shampoo, deodorant or more

Examples of zero waste cosmetic products include bar soaps, bar shampoos, bar facial cleanser, bar deodorants and so on. Individuals can jio their friends by giving them a set of sustainable cosmetics to get them started on their journey and better still, try out the sustainable cosmetics routine together! BTDT has a great list here or her to shop for zero waste cosmetic products in Singapore.

4. Earn cash back, points and discounts through programmes

Singaporeans live for any possible perks, and sustainable cosmetic brands make no exceptions. Brands such as L’Occitane, Kiehl’s, innisfree and The Body Shop offer various rewards for their in-store recycling programmes. Recycle cosmetics in-store with friends to enjoy these rewards together. Otherwise, try out susGain, a sustainability lifestyle app, where users can earn cash back when they make purchases from sustainable brands. What’s more, an equal amount of cash will be donated to the user’s chosen charity too. susGain will also be running a challenge in February, where the top users who invited the most friends stand the chance to win gift vouchers and prizes from sustainable brands. What better time than now to invite a friend and enjoy these perks together!

“Although climate change cannot be solved by any single person, organisation or country, the sum of our actions can be significant. Simple steps, taken collectively, can culminate in tremendous contributions to climate action,” says the ​Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment. Although it might seem like individual efforts do not count, collective efforts do add up to every step towards Singapore’s journey towards a Zero Waste Nation.

There is no effort too small. Keep doing what you do, and over time, people around may be inspired to start on a sustainability journey, all because of you.


For more information about sustainable cosmetics packaging, visit Bin There Done That on a journey beyond the bin or find them on ​Instagram​ or Facebook. ​

Featured image by cottonbro from Pexels

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