Zero Waste Mascara: how one innovative indie brand is making the impossible possible

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Jupiterimages)
© Getty Images \ (Jupiterimages)

Related tags circular beauty Sustainability Color cosmetics Indie beauty

Shannon Goldberg just launched Izzy Zero Waste Beauty with what may be the most challenging beauty product when it comes to environmental sustainability.

Beauty manufacturers, brands, retailers, and consumers are taking incremental steps toward meaningful collaboration and turning the cosmetics and personal care into a fully circular industry.

But the realities of needing to disassemble and rinse used packing, of getting that secondary and primary packaging to a facility that will actually recycle it into useable materials, or of participating in a refill scheme are often less than convenient or, in some cases, truly impossible.  

Sustainably inspired beauty

Shannon Goldberg, who’s background in the beauty industry includes nearly a decade in top marketing roles for both consumer and med spa brands and stint as brand founder, describes her personal motivation for building the Izzy Zero Waste Beauty brand, saying in a recent media release that, “As a Millennial mom, I wanted to provide my daughter with truly sustainable beauty options, ones that would go beyond the standards of the current clean movement.”

She goes on to point out that “by 2050, the oceans are projected to contain more plastic than fish. If we want to give our children a fighting chance tomorrow, then we need to do something radical about reversing this cycle today.”

Goldberg’s ‘radical’ action isn’t about disrupting an industry or undermining existing brands, “It's about doing the right thing and looking beautiful doing it,”​ she tells the press.

The how and why of zero-waste mascara

As the brand name Izzy Zero Waste Beauty plainly suggests, Goldberg’s new beauty brand is all about eliminating waste through the supply chain, the manufacturing process, and post-consumer as well.

The brand’s debut product Zero Waste Mascara is made with inputs and packaging within a 400-mile radius. And to make circularity achievable for the brand and accessible to consumers, Izzy Zero Waste Beauty offers customers a cyclical subscription model.

As the brand’s recent media release describes it, “Izzy's membership options make it easy for customers to not only change out their mascara quarterly, but to return their empty tubes to Izzy with reusable shippers made from upcycled materials. Once the used mascaras are received, they are emptied, medically cleaned, refilled, and shipped out to the next customer.”

Zero-Waste beauty packaging materials

Packaging presents one of the biggest challenges to cosmetics and personal care brands striving to be environmentally sustainable.

One beauty packaging material solution that is gaining traction in the marketplace is metal. Readers of my recall a news item about the new deodorant brand Noniko and that brand’s choice to use refillable stainless-steel tubes from startup supplier Verity​. And more recently the turn-key beauty solutions company Meiyume added a second item to their line aluminum packaging with the Infinitely Recyclable Lipstick tube.

And Izzy Zero Waste Beauty opted for metal when choosing the primary packaging for their mascara. The tubes are stainless steel, made in the US, and “medically sterilized” ​for each refill.

The Izzy mascara applicator and wipe are able to be ground the resulting material melted to make new applicators and wipes. And the brand’s media release highlights that “Zero Waste Mascara is one of the only beauty products in the world to meet the criteria outlined by The CarbonNeutral Protocol – the leading global framework for carbon neutrality.”

Izzy Zero Waste Beauty isn’t the only business taking a green approach to mascara. And it’s getting easier for more brand to follow suit as suppliers develop alternatives to conventional materials. SGB Packaging Group (a beauty packaging distributor serving the mid-tier and luxury markets), for instance, is now offering green-fiber mascara wands, made with a bio-based nylon.

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