May 18, 2022


An alarming observation

Let's talk about cosmetics based on natural ingredients and... waste. Surprising, isn't it? 

While the population continues to grow, and we will soon have to provide for the needs of nearly 9 billion people, massive waste is still present in the production processes of many industries, especially in the food sector. 

During the transformation process, we already observe nearly 20% of losses, with an environmental impact that could be limited. Our current economy is responsible for the massive production of waste, responsible for significant pollution when it could simply be reused.

The latest IPCC report, which warns us of the consequences of global warming and ways to adapt and limit the threats we are facing, seems to be irrefutable proof of the need to make our ways of producing and consuming evolve.

The economic model we know seems no longer to be appropriate. This is why some people have decided to change things in a simple and effective way.

An eco-friendly alternative, upcycling

Upcycling is a natural response to the need to adopt a new, more responsible way of consumption by revaluing the unconsumed materials. Inspired in particular by sectors such as fashion and decoration, this trend is also emerging in cosmetics.

This is the new concept adopted by some companies like UpCircle born in London in 2015. It realizes the huge amount of coffee grounds thrown away every day by British people and decides to act.  

Coffee grounds can be used as an exfoliant, scrub, tensor, anti-cellulite... Coffee grounds, like many organic food ingredients such as plum pits or grape seeds, can be recovered, recycled and integrated into cosmetic formulas.

Thus put to good use, these ingredients benefit from a new life and participate in a responsible consumption, so why throw them away?  This is the vision defended by up cycling, whose motto is to recycle in order not to exhaust the planet's resources. 

The actors of the movement

Several French brands, such as Ensème, Cosmaé or Sophim, have invested in an ever healthier and more ecological composition of their products by upcycling certain elements instead of throwing them away.  

Associations such as the Upcycling Food Association or Hub.cylce defend this new way of life based on the development of a form of circular economy, prioritizing efficiency and sustainability at every stage of production.

In the case of cosmetic products, the circular economy will, for example, favor several aspects:

  • ingredients produced with little waste 
  • ingredients that make use of waste or unexploited elements 
  • the use of a production method that reduces the amount of waste produced
  • the use of reusable packaging or packaging designed to be easily recycled 
  • no packaging at all (solid cosmetics) *insert link to article*.

The agri-food and cosmetic fields are intimately linked insofar as the latter contribute to the revalorization of the elements of an agricultural production initially intended to be destroyed or devalued.

This operation mode is particularly virtuous for the environment. It is not necessary to allocate new plots of land to agricultural production, since the raw material is already available, thus avoiding soil contamination, overexploitation and biodiversity depletion.

The reuse of by-products as raw materials contributes to the democratization of upcycled ingredients and at the same time allows professionals to save money by acquiring the necessary materials for production at a reduced cost. This is beneficial to all actors in the value chain.

As a consumer, turning to upcycled products can be a good way to adopt a more responsible way of consumption and act for the democratization of a movement with sustainable aspirations.

Reinventing the way we produce and consume cosmetics as well as our impact on health and the planet is a great way to show our commitment on a daily basis. 

In your opinion, is up-cycling an alternative to be massively adopted?

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