Plastic-Free Spotlight: Elate Cosmetics

Focused on creating low-waste, healthy beauty products that bring out the best in our looks and ourselves, Elate Cosmetics proves that beauty routines are still possible while being savvy in sustainability. Plastic-Free YYC asked Elate a few questions about their “conscious beauty” business model and what makes them different from other cosmetics companies.

Elate Cosmetics
Online, or at the Apothecary in Inglewood!
Instagram/Twitter: @elatecosmetics // Facebook: Elate Cosmetics

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your products and how your company came about?

Elate Cosmetics was founded in 2014 by Melodie Reynolds, whose 20 years of experience in the beauty industry drove her resolution to find a more sustainable solution for cosmetics. Our products are clean, cruelty-free, and sustainably packaged. We are aiming to become the world’s first waste-free cosmetics company, and are currently sitting at about 75% waste free with our packaging.

What is your biggest driver for being sustainable?

The cosmetics industry is one of the worst offenders for plastic pollution and waste, and we are very excited to bring more sustainable options and knowledge in to the marketplace so that consumers can make more informed decisions.

How would you differentiate your products from other sustainable alternatives? What sets them apart?

Elate’s refill system is one of the largest differences between us and similar brands. Most of our products can be purchased in a refill size, which comes packaged in seed paper envelopes, to eliminate waste and help consumers better customize their beauty ritual.

What are the biggest sustainability challenges you face personally and professionally?

One of the biggest challenges that we’re facing, both professionally and personally, is the reduction of materials that we’re using as consumers and as suppliers.

What is one thing you have done at your company to drive sustainability that other businesses could replicate as best practice?

We are currently working on implementing a Sustainability Agreement with all of our suppliers to make sure that any products, including ingredients and packaging, that we bring in are manufactured in a responsible way.

What have you done outside of work to live a more sustainable life?

Every team member at Elate is encouraged to find ways to make their lives “greener”, with anything from finding alternative methods of commuting like walking or biking, to info sessions during team meetings about responsible disposal and reduction practices. Several of us also use the Random Acts of Green app, which helps users clean up their daily routines with incentives like discounts on products and services for each green act.

Which sustainable action or change you’ve made in your life are you most proud of?

Since joining Elate, I have had the opportunity to learn an incredible amount of sustainability and responsible practices. In return, I love sharing that knowledge whenever I can. I’d say I’m most proud when I see that friends and family have taken that knowledge to heart and started to make changes in their own habits.

What is your “guilty” habit that just isn’t very sustainable? How do you plan to change it if you could?

Cutting down on my take away food and coffees was a big one for me. I’m quite forgetful, so remembering to bring my lunch to work is a harder task than it should be. I’ve started setting reminders on my phone to make my lunch the night before and to pack it in my bag in the morning, and I’m working on eliminating the need to buy coffee or food unless I know I have time to sit down and have it there.

In one phrase, what does sustainability mean to you?

For me, sustainability means keeping your informed to make strong choices and helping wherever you can to spread that knowledge.

Can you provide three top tips for others trying to lead more sustainable lives and reduce their waste?

  1. Avoid fast fashion by doing your research. Email companies directly if you’re not able to find their sustainability mandates. There is a great app called Good on You, that acts as a database for ethical fashion.
  2. Don’t forget the first “R” – reduce! Buying one in every colour might be tempting, but you’ll help more than just your wallet by only purchasing what you need.
  3. Make sustainable choices easier by preparing. Have a refillable water bottle or coffee cup in an easily visible area. Keep a cotton tote with you for those last minute shopping trips. Schedule enough trip time to walk, ride, or bus to your destination if you can.

Bonus: Share the love – Which businesses besides your wonderful company would you recommend to help people reduce their waste? 

We have recently started working with a company out of Vancouver called Chop Value to redesign our product displays. They work with old chopsticks to create beautiful design pieces and furniture, and we are obsessed!