Is eco-friendly packaging even a thing?

Is eco-friendly packaging even a thing?

You can't see it but I've got my hands thrown way up in the air. Not in a good way. Not in “the band playing on stage told me to throw my hands up in the air" way.

How did my knickers get in such a twist, you ask? Packaging.

I hate packaging. It's necessary, of course- You can't have a blob of serum hanging out on the sink counter gathering dust while it waits to be used. But trying to figure out which packaging has the least impact on the environment with what’s right for the product with what’s preferred by the user with what’s recyclable and will survive a trip through the mail without costing a fortune is like trying to herd cats, as the saying goes.

Paper/cardboard packaging seems the obvious solution. Unfortunately, paper doesn’t hold up. It’s ruined if it gets wet and my oil-based products bleed through even if stored properly.

Tins are popular because they’re lightweight, don’t break, and are easily recycled. The downside is that the manufacturing process is a nightmare.

Cosmetic tins are tin-plated steel. “Steel production has a number of impacts on the environment, including air emissions (CO, SOx, NOx, PM2), wastewater contaminants, hazardous wastes, and solid wastes.”, “Steel production & environmental impact”

Glass is my favorite. It gives the product inside the best protection. Manufacturing does have a negative impact on the environment as it’s very energy-intensive and produces a significant amount of carbon dioxide, but glass can be cleaned and reused many times or recycled.

Another problem with glass is that it’s heavy so costs more to ship, and there’s always a chance it could break.

What’s the most eco-friendly packaging then? From my perspective, packaging in general is not eco-friendly at all (unless it’s the cool leaf-wrapping for food like tamales). The best we can do is use less overall, reuse as much as we can, and hope what finally gets put into recycling actually ends up being recycled.

Sorry to be a buzzkill.