Circular beauty, beauty from food waste


Alongside organic and cruelty free products, the circular beauty, a new approach that could significantly contribute to reducing food waste, bringing significant benefits to both our skin and the environment.

Circular beauty: what does it mean?

In the vocabulary of those who are passionate about make-up and skin care, the term circular beauty may already be known, that is the conversion of food waste in sustainable beauty products. This innovative approach to recycling sees fruit and vegetables as protagonists that are not aesthetically attractive in the eyes of the consumer (for example with dents and deformations) and therefore do not reach the supermarket shelves.

Companies in the beauty sector have seen potential in what would be mere waste products, exploiting their organoleptic properties.

This is a far-reaching problem with enormous financial, ethical and environmental costs. – explains in an interview Antara Kundu, marketing manager (South Asia) of The Body Shop – Finding innovative and efficient ways to use food waste is a fundamental part of our commitment to sustainability. Many of our ranges use ingredients that would otherwise have been rejected by the food industry or consumers, respectively due to industry trends or habits.

A huge driver behind circular beauty is the growing concern and interest of consumers about sustainability and theenvironmental impact of their purchases in the cosmetic field. By focusing on reinvigorating food byproducts destined for junk, circular beauty offers one of the greenest and most sustainable avenues.

In an interview with Refinery29, Montague Ashley-Craig, founder of the MontaMonta company said:

I think it is important to remember that waste is a relatively new phenomenon that has only developed in the last 100-200 years. I hope to spark a conversation about what “waste” is, its intrinsic value and the potential for another use.

The entrepreneur stressed the importance of the beauty industry to do its part by going one step further than the mere choice of sustainable ingredients. In fact, an important aspect of circular beauty is given precisely by the use of alternative materials to plastic in order to generate potentially infinite life cycles of the materials themselves from a circular point of view.

What can be recycled?

In circular beauty there is a wide variety of food waste that can potentially be used to develop natural and organic cosmetics: olive oil waste, discarded mango seeds, misshapen bananas, ginger pods, citrus extracts (especially the orange and lemon peels), cocoa beans and tea waste.

Also coffee beans they can be recycled for the creation of masks and scrubs and this Innisfee knows very well, as explains Mini Sood Banerjee, marketing manager India of the company:

A surge in coffee consumption has led to an exponential increase in waste coffee grounds. We add new value to this waste by curating a range of recycled coffee, offering skin care benefits and reducing waste by extracting maximum use.

THE discarded dried fruit seeds from the companies producing jams and juices then, they are extremely useful for the production of essential oils obtained through cold pressing. Even the grape waste produced by wineries proved to be valuable resources to achieve the pigmentation of some products, first of all the hair dye.

Maximilian Munz, co-founder of the German brand C! RCLY, points out that the main challenge of circular beauty lies intimely use of raw materials. In fact, it is essential that all these waste are fresh and free of germs, bacteria or any type of contamination to ensure, in addition to the efficacy of cosmetic products, also safety from a hygienic and sanitary point of view.

Circular beauty for an eco-sustainable future

According to Food Business News, U.S. consumers, businesses, and farms spend nearly $ 220 billion on food that is not consumed annually. Of the 63 million tons of wasted food each year, 16% occurs in farms, 2% in producers, 40% in targeted farms and 43% in consumers’ homes. Food waste accounts for 21% of all fresh water used in the United States and occupies 21% of landfill volume.

Coast Packing, the largest supplier of animal fats in the western United States, asked consumers if attitudes towards food waste, sustainability and the importance of minimally processed food have changed in the past five years. The youngest respondents (millennials and generation Z) and women turned out to be the most sensitive to these issues.

Food AWARE statistics show how 18 million tonnes of food waste ends up in UK landfills every year. This is estimated to be worth a whopping 23 billion pounds. This has a significant impact on climate change, with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reporting that global food waste contributes 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

The impact is twofold: the decomposition of food waste in landfills releases methane (a greenhouse gas 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide) and the emissions created in the production, packaging, storage, transport and sale of food negatively impact the planet. .

Circular beauty can intervene with a concrete effort to keep resources in use with a circular and regenerative approach, even when it comes to product packaging: the packaging it is made with green packaging and packaging completely banning plastic. Vishal Bhandari, founder of Soultree, says:

We are constantly focused on sustainability in our supply chain. So far we have managed to eliminate any plastic packaging materials when shipping our online orders, and have switched to environmentally friendly solutions such as cardboard boxes, paper wrappers and paper tapes.

Other local brands like Neemli Naturals also package their toxin-free products in reusable and recyclable glass bottles.

Circular beauty: brands and products

Currently the circular beauty cosmetics offer is mainly represented by scrub, creams, oils And soaps, but some companies are also studying how to develop perfumes and other types of cosmetics to widen the offer as much as possible. Here are some brands and products-bulwark of circular beauty:


The English company bases its product formulation on ingredients of botanical origin and the use of locally sourced raw materials and waste. Among MontaMonta’s flagship products are the sage and coffee body scrub and the basil hand and body cleanser with parsley seeds and black pepper.

MontaMonta circular beauty

The Body Shop

Historically associated with a cruelty free approach even before the phenomenon took hold, The Body Shop in 2019 launched a series of products derived from recycled ingredients. The Carrot Face Wash and Carrot Cream Nature Reach Daily Moisturizer for example, use wonky carrots that would otherwise have been disposed of, while the Banana Bath Blend is made up of second-rate bananas.

The Body Shop Carrot Cream Nature Rich Daily MoisturizerThe Body Shop Carrot Cream Nature Rich Daily Moisturizer

Daily face moisturizer for 72 hours of hydration: vegan, enriched with 97% of ingredients of natural origin and 100% recyclable packaging.

€ 19 on Amazon


  • Vegan, with 97% natural ingredients
  • 100% recyclable packaging


  • Some users describe it as very oily


UpCircle probably paved the way for circular beauty as early as 2016, when it started collecting waste coffee grounds from many London bars into scrubs and soaps. Since then they have made a whole host of other products using waste from the food and beverage industry, such as chai tea syrup and fruit pits, using fully recyclable containers. Among the flagship products we find the award-winning organic face serum with coffee oil.

UpCircle circular beauty

Beauty Kitchen

Beauty Kitchen’s mission is to create the most effective, natural and sustainable beauty products in the world. Pioneers of the innovative RETURN – REFILL – REPEAT program, Beauty Kitchen allows its customers to return the packaging for washing and reuse in the next batch. Among the flagship products is their Organic vegan hand and body cream, winner of the 2020 Pure Beauty Awards.

Beauty Kitchen The Sustainables Botanic Bliss Organic Vegan Hand and Body CreamBeauty Kitchen The Sustainables Botanic Bliss Organic Vegan Hand and Body Cream

Winner in 2020 of the Pure Beauty Awards.

€ 9 on Amazon

Byre Bodycare

The dairy industry wastes 870,000 tons of whey, a by-product of milk and cheese production, and Byre Bodycare took up the challenge to make better use of it. As whey is a highly effective and nourishing ingredient, they used it to create a range of body cleansers enriched with aloe vera, sustainable poppy seed oil, vitamins and natural extracts. Byre Bodycare then donates a percentage of the profits to farmers in difficulty.



The range of lip and body balms of FRUU is all made in small batches in their UK workshop, largely from processed fruit scraps, for example, they use overripe fruit avocado oil that cannot be sold in supermarkets. In an effort to be as circular as possible, the brand aims to include between 30% and 60% of by-product-derived ingredients in each formula, thereby also providing vital extra income for small growers.

That circular beauty is already the only possible beauty for the future? The growing interest of consumers in sustainability certainly bodes well for aincreasingly green beauty industry and committed to the fight against waste.

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