Leave it Lusher Than You Found It

Molly Duke, Editor-In-Chief | Staff Writer

Everyone has heard of the stigma against plastic straws. “Save the turtles” has been engraved into the minds of everyone who even looks at a plastic straw. But it seems that the battle against plastic waste ends there. No one seems to care about the plastic bottles that come from those luxury shampoos people love, or the plastic wrapper surrounding bars of soap. 

The body-care industry is one of the leading producers in plastic waste. From shampoos and conditioners to your favorite body scrub, the plastics produced from these items will ultimately find their way to the great mountain of trash that most products do. Unwrapped life.com reports “more than 552 million shampoo bottles could be ending up in landfills every year,” so is there any real way to combat this plastic apocalypse? One company is trying to do just that.

Lush is a body care and cosmetic store that originated in the United Kingdom, although they’ve branched across to both Canada and the United States. The company got its major publicity rush a few years ago when bath bombs became trendy. However, the company does more than just glitter bath bombs. The company boasts of shampoo and conditioner bars, a waste-free alternative to liquid shampoo. They also have solid lotion bars, bar soap, and a series of other “naked” products that come without packaging.

Lush Cosmetics is currently striving to become a sustainable and eco-friendly company. The brand makes almost all of its lotions, creams, liquid conditioners and shampoos, and perfumes in plastic which makes up about 65% of their products. Although this seems like a step backwards in their strides to make the planet cleaner they have multiple recycling methods in place. Lush makes it clear that “When you return five clean, empty pots to a shop, you’ll even get a free fresh face mask.” They put this on walls in store, on all their products and websites. In years past they used thicker plastic for most of their products but that has recently changed, the company states on the website, “Recently our buying team worked with our bottle supplier to reduce the thickness of our clear plastic bottles”.  

Lush tries to have the things they can bare and out of containers when they are bought. They say that “Our pots and bottles are made from BPA-Free, 100% post-consumer recycled plastic” on the website and say BPA-Free on all plastic containers. They now get their new resources that are “not only 100% vegan but are source raw materials from projects around the world that supporting working women and children in education” GreenMatters.com reported, they also wrote that glitter is made with plastic and most glitter in beauty products and is bad for the planet but Lush “relies on their own Lush Labs to create synthetic [shine], a key component of the sparkles inside of Lush products” in order for them to sparkle. 

Although Lush does have a lot of products they still sell in plastic packaging, they make the effort to make sure the packaging is completely recyclable. The labels reveal the plastic type of the container and the lid, to make sure both get disposed of properly. They also offer a trade in program, where you can trade in five of their “black pots” from their lotions and other products and get a free face mask. “After the pots are recycled back to the store, the process continues. Each one is made into a brand new black pot for someone else to use and recycle,” Lush commented in an interview with Bustle.

Lush is also concerned with issues surrounding the environment and how they as a company affect it. “We are committed to becoming more sustainable the more we grow, by using our buying power to drive positive change. We believe taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility” they say on their Lush United Kingdom website. They talk about replacing products that harm the world around us and replace them with ones who don’t. 

When talking about it on the website it is explained,“Palm oil, for example, went into our black book and was replaced by more earth-friendly oils in our soap base. We are now working to remove it from all products, as well as encouraging other companies to do the same.” 

Products from other brands use preservatives to store their products shelf life and chemicals along with their colorful hues but Lush says that “Over 70% of our range is self-preserving and we are always looking at ways to improve on that.” Lush is one of the many brands trying to combat against the toxins and harmful things our environment is challenged against. They really encourage you to recycle and do your part to save the planet. “We also enjoy looking into new materials and for the future, legislation permitting, we would like to start using refills and to increase the amount of reusable packaging used to transport products between our factories and our shops,” the Lush site on their environmental policy page says.

Lush is only one of the many brands adapting to a plastic-free demanding society. One thing’s for sure, the world isn’t just going to drop body care because it creates waste, society must adapt to the new conditions. It’s not necessarily difficult to change packaging to metal, or go completely without anyways. So it’s up to the consumer to prioritize their choices; plastic or not.