News & Analysis

Polish cosmetics manufacturers take a stand against plastic

Polish cosmetics manufactures are tackling the issue of plastic waste by changing the way they package their products. From lipstick in a paper tube to shampoo bars, companies like Mydlarnia Cztery Szpaki and Jan Barba are taking extra measures to reduce the environmental impact of their products. 

The movement to reduce plastic waste is becoming increasingly popular. Karolina Kulikowska from Mydlarnia Cztery Szpaki told INNPoland that while until recently it was just ecologically-focused people who made up the majority of the market, now “more and more often people who were not previously very interested in the subject [ecological lifestyles], want to change their habits a bit, and we help them painlessly and pleasantly eliminate at least part of the plastic from their surroundings.” 

There is also a movement to begin recycling campaigns in stores, which involves returning packaging, or offering discounts when reusing packaging. Jan Barbra’s Warsaw store offers customers discounts even when they reuse another brand’s packaging. 

However, these are just small steps towards tackling what is an increasingly large problem. Katarzyna Guzek from Greenpeace Polska told INNPoland that “humanity is unable to cope with the amount of disposable plastic packaging we produce.” She also said that recycling is not the right solution, as only about nine per cent of the plastic we produce is recyclable.

Virginie Little from the Polish Zero Waste Association believes that while the movement is gaining traction, there is still a long way to go.

“At a political level, we really need changemakers and people with a vision about zero waste in building a circular economy and as a solution to waste management. I look at some countries – such as France – where the movement is very widespread and where we can truly see the beginning of a bottom-up zero waste revolution.”

Nevertheless, these small steps by Polish cosmetic companies are important in constituting part of the wider movement as a whole. For the time being, environmentally conscious manufacturers are doing what they can with the resources and funds available, even if it is not the perfect solution. While plastic is still used in the production process or in some packaging (such as plastic pumps for glass bottles), “even small changes are important,” said Ms Kulikowska.