Australia has legal standards in place to promote the use of Sustainable  materials in cosmetic packaging. These regulations encourage the use of biodegradable containers and permeable membranes, as well as unique processes for managing product leakage. Some states, such as New South Wales, have banned non-recyclable plastic bags containing talcum powder since 2009. Additionally, recent legislative measures have been introduced to regulate labeling requirements for key sustainable cosmetic packaging ingredients, such as preservatives. This enables consumers to make informed choices about their purchases of sustainable cosmetic packaging in Australia.

What is recyclable cosmetic packaging and why does it matter?


Sustainable cosmetic packaging in Australia is small, lightweight, and designed for recycling. It is commonly referred to as recyclable or degradable packaging, but in the context of this article, it specifically refers to packaging with recycled content.

The cosmetics industry, worth over $50 billion annually worldwide, relies heavily on oil for its ingredients and production processes. This, combined with inefficient waste disposal practices, has resulted in a steady rise in plastic pollution in recyclable cosmetic packaging in Australia.

Despite over 80,000 tonnes of cosmetics being produced annually in Australia, the majority ends up in landfill or escapes into the environment due to inadequate disposal practices. This is exacerbated by the lack of easy access to recycling facilities for many waste types that contain cosmetic remnants, such as plastics. The situation is even worse internationally, where there are no laws dictating safe disposal requirements for consumer goods, let alone those containing hazardous materials like pharmaceuticals. In some developing countries, polluted water from rivers full of micro-plastics has led to an increase in diseases among affected communities.

To address this issue, it is important to focus on sustainable packaging solutions and efficient waste disposal practices, as well as increasing access to recycling facilities. As consumers, we can also make a difference by choosing products with eco-friendly packaging and properly disposing of waste.

recyclable cosmetic packaging australia

The benefits of sustainable cosmetic packaging Australia 


Recycling is a crucial aspect of sustainability, and incorporating recycled content in cosmetics packaging can have significant positive impacts on the environment. By utilizing previously used or post-consumer waste material instead of virgin materials, the cosmetics industry can reduce global dependence on fossil fuels and toxic petrochemicals, as well as decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills each year.

Adopting sustainable packaging has become a hallmark of responsible corporate social and environmental performance. Companies that prioritize recycling not only enjoy greater popularity among consumers, but they also receive substantial support from government agencies seeking to promote sustainable practices. According to a recent survey, 84% of consumers are willing to pay extra for products packaged in recyclable containers. Additionally, studies have shown that individuals are more likely to try new products from small businesses that demonstrate credible green credentials.

Recycling provides numerous benefits beyond protecting the environment, including energy and cost savings, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and preservation of raw materials. Companies that adopt recycling programs can enjoy cost savings in waste disposal, while in many countries, recycling is tax-deductible. Furthermore, recycling presents an opportunity for companies to generate extra revenue from the sale of recyclable materials.

Incorporating recycled packaging is not only a responsible business practice but also a standard feature of good corporate social and environmental performance. Companies that recycle their waste can avoid paying landfill taxes, which in the US alone can cost around $25 billion annually. By prioritizing recycled packaging, companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, appeal to consumers’ eco-consciousness, and earn support from government agencies promoting sustainable practices.


The importance of collecting sustainable cosmetics packaging efficiently


It is essential to acknowledge that sustainable materials may appear more expensive initially, but in the long run, they prove to be a cost-effective choice. In addition to being better for your skin, they require less energy to manufacture. Certain companies even produce recycled products at a lower cost, which ultimately benefits everyone involved.

Cosmetics products are highly valued and frequently used, resulting in a considerable amount of packaging waste that includes glass containers, aluminum aerosols, and plastics. This waste needs to be collected efficiently without interfering with curbside collection services for sustainable cosmetic packaging Australia.

According to Mark Herbert-Mitchell, General Manager Sales at ResourceCo, a leading waste management solutions provider established in 1979 in Brisbane, Australia, the increasing consumption of personal care and cosmetic products due to factors such as population growth and an aging demographic that consumes more cosmetics than ever before will put a strain on the resources sector. As people become more concerned about landfills, they are exploring other options for waste management, including the need for sustainable cosmetics packaging.

recyclable cosmetic packaging australia

What are the alternatives for non-recyclable plastic products in the future?


The prospects for the adoption of recyclable cosmetic packaging in Australia are currently clouded by the prevalent use of plastic, which has long been favored for its durability, lightweight properties, and versatility in shaping. Nonetheless, the alarming environmental impact of plastic waste underscores the pressing need for sustainable packaging solutions. In response, forward-thinking entities like Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) have spearheaded the development of eco-friendly alternatives that are well-suited for use in cosmetic production and are capable of being recycled. By opting for these materials, manufacturers can significantly reduce the ecological footprint of their products. The following are examples of such biodegradable alternatives that can naturally decompose when disposed of correctly:

1) PLA filament, also known as bioplastic, is a compostable material derived from cornstarch. Widely used in 3D printing due to its strength and versatility, its raw material cost currently stands at approximately $40 per kg, though it is expected to decrease as adoption increases in manufacturing processes.

PLA filament has emerged as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional packaging materials and has found use in the production of cosmetic packaging such as lip gloss or toothpaste tubes, bottles, caps, and straws. Its soft and flexible nature, coupled with its ability to retain stiffness even at low temperatures, makes it a popular choice for manufacturing brushes that maintain their shape over time. Such brushes are first coated in a paint-like liquid before being molded on a 3D printer, with the entire design created using a 3D program.


2) Sugar cane bioplastic is an eco-friendly material extracted from sugar cane and boasts less than 50% of the carbon footprint associated with petroleum-based plastic. Like PLA Filament, it is highly versatile and can be molded into molds of different shapes and sizes to suit a wide range of applications. Additionally, it allows for the creation of unique designs, such as the bottle holder pictured here:

While sugar cane bioplastics are commonly utilized in the production of

PLA casing and blister packaging are paper-like plastics manufactured from PLA, derived from corn starch. These materials can be printed using a commercial inkjet printer and are also 100% compostable, making them a viable replacement for PVC in sustainable cosmetic packaging Australia.


cosmetic packaging in Australia, such as lotion bottles or jars, they are more challenging to work with than PLA Filament as they do not hold their shape well and may melt if exposed to high temperatures. However, some critics argue that these materials should be referred to as “biodegradable plastics” since they only decompose naturally after undergoing several stages of digestion over time.


3) Corn-based bioplastic is another 100% compostable material derived from corn starch, much like PLA Filament. However, this material boasts a shorter biodegradation period, making it an excellent choice for cosmetics packaging, including lip gloss or toothpaste tubes, bottles, caps, and straws, as it decomposes naturally when placed in a compost heap or buried underground.

While the manufacturer’s website does not mention any other applications for corn-based bioplastics beyond shampoo bottles and tubes, these materials are expected to replace petroleum-based counterparts by 2020 due to their cost-effectiveness and significantly lower environmental impact in

PLA casing and blister packaging are paper-like plastics manufactured from PLA, derived from corn starch. These materials can be printed using a commercial inkjet printer and are also 100% compostable, making them a viable replacement for PVC in sustainable cosmetic packaging Australia.


4) PLA casing and blister packaging are paper-like plastics manufactured from PLA, derived from corn starch. These materials can be printed using a commercial inkjet printer and are also 100% compostable, making them a viable replacement for PVC in sustainable cosmetic packaging Australia.


5) Laysan Sugarcane Bioplastic is a type of bioplastic derived from marine animal shells, including crab shells, worm shells, barnacle shells, and fish bones. These shells are often discarded in landfills after being removed from seafood or meat products. However, Laysan Sugarcane Bioplastic provides a sustainable solution, as it decomposes naturally within 18 months. Farmers collect the shells and sell them to processors, who wash, clean, and grind them into a fine powder. This powder is then used to create bioplastic through a process known as pyrolysis, which replaces petroleum-based raw materials with renewable feedstock such as corn starch, wheat bran, and biomass. It is important to note that these plastics are not biodegradable when thrown into landfills, as they become waterproof when exposed to water, and resist breaking down in the same way that petroleum-based plastics do. Nonetheless, this innovative material offers a promising solution for sustainable cosmetic packaging in Australia.



The use of sustainable cosmetic packaging in Australia is considered to be the most environmentally conscious approach as it enables reuse and recycling for over 100 times. Paint cans that have been recycled are typically made of melted-down steel, which is then poured into molds to create new containers. It’s essential to note that the term “recyclable” implies that a product or package has been designed with the intention of facilitating recycling when it reaches the end of its useful life. However, if the product is not disposed of in a recycling bin, it is unlikely to be recycled at all.