When you run out of day cream or finish off that luxe serum, your first thought might be replacing the product ASAP. But have you ever stopped to think where that packaging you are about to so carelessly dispose of will end up?
The beauty industry produces a staggering 120 billion units of waste per year - a harrowing number from a growing industry that is set to be worth $716.6 billion by 2025.
But now a New Zealand-owned skincare company is helping to change that, one refill at a time.
Aotearoa's own Emma Lewisham has become the world's first beauty brand to achieve carbon positive status.
Being carbon positive means the products aren't just zero emissions, they are designed to benefit the environment - and in an industry infamous for pollution, it's a huge move.
It's gained the Kiwi beauty brand the ultimate endorsement from iconic environmentalist and UN Messenger of Peace Dr Jane Goodall.
"New Zealand beauty brand Emma Lewisham is demonstrating what it means to be a truly sustainable business," Goodall says.
"Through their carbon positive and circular business model, Emma Lewisham is creating environmental prosperity and showing their peers that this business model is not just possible but paramount if we are to make a meaningful difference."
Goodall says the brand has set a new benchmark not just for the beauty industry, but for all.
"I admire Emma Lewisham's passion for creating lasting change and I urge all brands to follow their lead," she says.
"This is when true change begins – when we work together. The greatest danger to our future is apathy. I sincerely hope that the beauty industry can follow Emma Lewisham's lead. I believe they are paving the way for the future."
Emma Lewisham's skincare brand has always been completely natural - and founder Lewisham has been committed to her carbon positive goal since first creating the brand in 2019.
So, how did she go about achieving that goal?
"It's not just about measuring and then offsetting our impact," the beauty boss explains.
"We are focused on reducing our carbon footprint to the lowest number possible and implementing strategies, such as moving to a circular business model to illustrate this is more than just offsetting for us. We are doing the work. We'd love to be in a position where we eliminate the need to offset altogether."
She spent 12 months working with Toitū Envirocare to measure the carbon emissions from each product at each stage of its life cycle.
These stages included the harvesting and production of the raw ingredients used, the transportation, product packaging, and what happens at the end of life for each product.
The brand has also introduced a world-first completely circular-designed product range.
This means that not only are the products refillable, but they're also designed to be waste-free and to stay in use through reuse, repair and recycling.
Lewisham says the circular packaging reflects the need to prioritise refills over recycling.
"The industry seems to have become so focused on recycling. However, a solution that has a significantly lighter environmental impact – is to reuse – in our case, refill. There must be investment industry-wide into refillable models and reuse of material – recycling should be the final port of call."
What many people don't realise is that "recyclable" beauty packaging often actually just ends up in the landfill, she notes.
"Virtually no kerbside recycling systems actually recycle beauty packaging. Although products might 'technically' be recyclable, the economics just don't stack up - so to landfill it goes."
Redesigning products to fit a carbon positive model was new territory - not just for Lewisham, but for the industry.
"There was no road map to follow in becoming a circular designed luxury skincare brand," she points out.
"We have had to reimagine our business processes, technology and our product packaging. This is a new model of beauty."
And the Kiwi's bold move could see other players in the beauty and skincare industry follow suit, with the brand today launching a campaign calling out global beauty powerhouses like La Mer and Dior.
So, while Lewisham's move has received praise from global environmentalists, it also packs that fearless Kiwi punch - going straight to the top and making no apologies along the way.