Bath + Beauty Reader Question

Published on February 15th, 2012 | by Becky Striepe

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Reader Question: Eco-Friendly Containers for Beauty Products

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Reader Question lip gloss pot

A reader wrote in recently asking about eco-friendly packaging for lip gloss. Her friend makes lip gloss as a hobby right now but is looking to produce larger batches to give as gifts and maybe even sell. At the moment, she’s using reclaimed contact lens cases (genius, if you ask me!), but as she scales up, that’s not really going to keep working for her availability-wise. Plus, she’s worried that some friends and customers might be icked out about lip gloss packaged in old contacts cases.

It can be tricky to scale your production up and keep that packaging green. Minimal packaging is always best, but when it comes to beauty products there are some things that just need a package. You can’t exactly spoon a glob of lip gloss into your customer’s hand, right? It needs a container. Good on this crafter for trying to find an eco-friendly alternative! I did a little digging and came up with a couple of sources that might work.

There are a couple of companies that offer some plastic tubes made with a high recycled content. These aren’t 100% recycled, but if you’re going for plastic tubes, these are better than the conventional ones for sure. Not every tube on that page is recycled, so make sure you read those descriptions before buying, if you’re going this route!

The other option I found isn’t recycled, but it’s still my favorite of the two. Ball makes metal tins for lip gloss that are 100% recyclable. For me, this would be the better option. New materials up front, but it’s made in the U.S., fully recyclable when it’s empty, and metal is lower impact than plastic at every point in the waste stream. You also wouldn’t have to worry about plastic leaching into your quality product.

Glass containers are also pretty good from an environmental standpoint. I had a hard time finding recycled glass containers, but glass is a pretty low impact material, as these things go, and a lot of glass contains recycled content, even if the seller doesn’t mention it in the listing.

I’d love to hear from other indie cosmetics makers out there! What do you do to keep your packaging as eco-friendly as possible?

[Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by stevendepolo]

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://survivingandthrivingonpennies.blogspot.com nancy baldwin

    Some Whole Foods carry empty glass lip gloss containers for around a buck. The lid is plastic but its fine because its not coming in contact with the li gloss. They also sell empty plastic ones but I would’t use those. I make my own lip balm because its super easy and I have everything on hand all the time.

  • Eve Stavros

    Tin or glass, always – never buy new plastic!!! I make all my own beauty products and give some as gifts to friends. On my small scale, I just save all the little metal tins (or recycle empty plastic ones) I have from whatever, but there are several good sources for large quantities of small tins, such as Anarres Natural Health – http://www.anarreshealth.ca/ – who has an excellent array of containers, and ships all their products in compostable packaging.

  • http://josloft.blogspot.com Jo

    I am just finishing up using my unfriendly plastic lip balm tubes and have been researching alternatives: These are 2 companies that offered great options:
    http://eco-vision.com/packagegallery/index.html
    http://www.custompapertubes.com/library/

    Good luck!

  • http://www.ecovisionpackaging.com Ken Spector

    Check out our green, biodegradable and home-compostable cosmetic packaging containers and tubes at Eco Vision Packaging: http://www.ecovisionpackaging.com

    Our very eco-friendly Eco Jar and Eco Tube (Lip balm tubes) have been tested thoroughly to hold oil-based cosmetics and lip balms. We have multiple sizes of both the Eco Jars and the Eco Tubes, and are developing more home-compostable packaging for a variety of other products. For more information, please take a look at http://www.ecovisionpackaging.com Thanks.

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  • http://www.ancientstonesmineralmakeup.com Cathlene

    The other option for packaging is McKernan packaging company. This company buys up remainder production of cosmetic packaging and sells it to the smaller skincare industry companies. Their intent is to sell the remainder packaging instead of letting the larger production companies put the unused packaging into land fills. Our company supports their mission to keep the industry green by using all that we can.

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  • http://kiwicandlecraft.weebly.com Victoria Hoete-Dodd

    This is something I’ve been looking for too. I have seen bamboo jars and also cardboard style ones

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