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Photo courtesy Izzy Zero Waste Beauty.

Photo courtesy Izzy Zero Waste Beauty.

In an era now defined by accountability, brand transparency, and a refined look at industry ethics, it can be difficult to know when companies are actually taking steps towards being more environmentally conscious, versus when they’re simply greenwashing for the purposes of maintaining relevance.


The global beauty industry, in particular, is an especially saturated space. A huge proprietor of the pollution issue, the $532-billion-dollar business is responsible for creating more than 120 billion units of packaging every year—and is regarded as the number one contributor to plastic production in the world, according to 2018 data from Zero Waste Week. In the United States alone, over 200 million mascaras are used and discarded every year—of which nearly 70% are not recyclable.


Recognizing this problem and its irreversible, long term effects on the environment, beauty industry veteran Shannon Goldberg stepped up to find a solution—which in this case, came in the form of Izzy Zero Waste Beauty, the world’s first fully reusable, sustainable, direct-to-consumer beauty brand. 


Goldberg founded Izzy Zero Waste Beauty with her nine-year-old daughter in mind and has hopes that this thoughtful work could help “contribute to a brighter future” and reimagine what the traditional supply chain should look like.


“After 15 years in cosmetic marketing, l had to be willing to walk away from what I knew in order to create a truly sustainable brand. This meant walking away from plastic labels and components, strategizing a tighter supply chain in order to reduce our carbon footprint, and figuring out how to manufacture a high-performance clean mascara that was fully circular. None of this was easy, and I suppose that’s why it’s never been done before,” says Goldberg.


Most recently, Izzy launched its debut product—Zero Waste Mascara, a clean and vegan-friendly product that features a sleek formula solution in a 100% recyclable medical-grade tube. Not only does the Zero Waste Mascara use 94% less plastic than most global mascara brands, it’s also noted as being 100% zero waste (the first mascara of its kind) through the regrinding and melting down of applicators to give life to new ones.


Izzy Zero Waste Beauty relies on a cyclical subscription business model to keep its carbon footprint minimal—between the centralized nature of the supply chain and commitment to using fully reusable components to reduce environmental impact, the brand actually boasts the smallest carbon footprint of any beauty brand in the world. And its membership option, specifically, works to remove a consumer’s responsibility of disposing of a product, and instead invites them to return their empty tubes, and the previously used mascaras are then cleaned, refilled, and distributed to the next customer. The cyclical model takes a first-of-its-kind approach to recycling and will undoubtedly serve as a base template for other sustainable beauty brands.  


“… I think the most fulfilling piece of this very complex puzzle is being able to encourage and inspire an industry that I love to be better. If more companies adopt these kinds of practices, I believe the beauty industry can actually change the world and leave it a better place for our children and their children,” says Goldberg.


For more information or to purchase the zero-waste mascara, visit