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Boop aims to cut beauty waste

by | 17 January 2024

Waste has been a blemish that the beauty industry has covered up for decades.  Companies that make cosmetics often throw away a huge amount of product that doesn’t look perfect.  Or they simply overestimate demand and produce too much. But a new online retailer called boop is now selling these products at reduced price. It’s the same idea as Outnet for Fashion or Oddbox for food. 

How big is the problem?

Boop estimates that 90 million beauty products are thrown away each year in the UK alone, adding up to 1,000 tonnes of mascaras, 4,500 tonnes of moisturiser and 9,000 tonnes of perfume.  By comparison, that’s the same weight as around 2,400 elephants, 11,000 Honda Civic cars or 29 million pairs of trainers! So quite a lot.

They say that more than 10% of beauty products are going to waste in brands’ supply chains, while overproduction of products accounts for 6.2% of discarded goods in the beauty industry.

How does Boop solve it?

In a survey conducted by Zero Waste Scotland in 2018, nearly all consumers (95%) said they would be willing to purchase imperfect stock (presumably at a discount). Until Boop came along there wasn’t an outlet for people to do this.

The company sources ‘perfectly imperfect’ beauty and wellness products directly from brands and retailers, such as Aromatherapy Associates and John Master’s Organics and offers consumers savings of up to 50%. 

By saving these too-good-to-go products from landfill, Boop say they are helping to breathe life back into the beauty supply chain and make the ‘undesirable’, ‘desirable’ again. Given that we all now love a wonky banana or an aesthetically-challenged potato, it feels as though this should be well received by consumers.  Even more so with sizable discounts.

Boop founder Yasmine Amr explains, “A huge number of beauty products are destroyed each year by manufacturers and retailers without ever hitting the market, whilst consumers and brands are becoming far more conscious of sustainability. If you think about what the Outnet has done for fashion and Oddbox has done for food waste, that’s what we want to do for the beauty industry.” 

Boop points out that it only ever sells products that are safe to use and deliver results, qualified by the rigorous “Boop QC check”, to assess the integrity and shelf-life of each product. 

Boop has also chosen four charities to donate products to – In Kind Direct, Beauty Banks, Look Good Feel Better and The Hygiene Bank – to further combat unnecessary waste and keep more products circulating.

It will be fascinating to see how Boop takes off and the extent to which they can tackle this rather ugly problem.

The BIG GRO system on the roof at Boston University. Picture by Dr. Sarabeth Buckley, published via Interesting Engineering.

Some of the brands available at Boop.


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