Traditionally, cosmetics companies use premium packaging to give their products a high-quality image. But a Poole, England-based cosmetics maker detests product packaging.
Lush Ltd. produces handmade cosmetics in multiple locations and aggressively minimizes packaging.
``I feel it is time for the cosmetic industry to de-merge itself from the packaging industry,'' Chief Executive Officer Mark Constantine said in an e-mail.
Lush skips packaging on solid materials, which make up about 70 percent of the firm's soaps, shampoo bars and skin-care creams.
Constantine and other Lush founders decided in 1995 to eliminate unnecessary packaging. ``We have been able to do this by considering the need for packaging at the design state,'' he said. ``Lush's black [recycled plastic] pots [for hand and face creams] and paper carrier bags are made from 100 percent post-consumer waste.''
Significant amounts of fossil fuels are consumed in the manufacturing, storing and shipping of packaging. Packaging may account for up to 75 percent of the cost of manufacturing cosmetics, he said.
Geographically dispersed plants shorten supply chains, which he views as a benefit for the environment.
Lush began in 1978 and supplies regional markets from sites in Poole; Milan, Italy; Vancouver, British Columbia; Toronto; Atsugi, Japan; Sydney, Australia; and Zagreb, Croatia.
Lush operates more than 470 retail stores in 42 countries, including 57 in the United States and 35 in Canada.
The firm has won multiple awards, including two from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Horsham, England.