Face-Off On Food Waste (Metro, 27th Feb 2019)

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The beauty industry is starting to put surplus materials to good use, says Amy Dawson.

THE next time you’re sipping an OJ, imagine a wheelie bin — 220 million wheelie bins, in fact — lining up along the length of 9,409 football pitches. That’s how many bins it would take to hold the 53 billion litres of waste produced by the global fruit juice industry every year. But how would you feel if some of that waste could help to keep you looking peachy and beautiful?

According to anti-waste organisation Wrap, £20 billion’s worth of food is wasted in the UK every year. Luckily, more and more home-grown brands are finding inventive and resourceful uses for it. Rubies in The Rubble (rubiesintherubble.com), which turns surplus food into jams and relishes, is one of them. Now sections of the beauty industry are joining in.

To be clear, we’re not talking about concocting a lotion using random peelings lifted out of the bin. From fragrant orange peel to nourishing mango seeds, farming and food production can offer a wealth of highly covetable natural skincare ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. Marks & Spencer’s Super Grape skincare range uses resveratrol, an antioxidant and anti-ageing ingredient derived from the skin of grapes, which it extracts from the fruits used for its wines.

Beauty brand Fruu (fruuurskin.com), meanwhile, when not calculating startling wheelie bin-based facts, is devoted to food waste, using surplus fruit products to create an ethical, vegan and sustainable selection of fruity balms and scrubs. Co-founder Dr Terence Chung, a biochemist, launched the Fruu lab in his spare room (with £2,000) a few years ago — Fruu products are now sold in 11 countries. According to Chung, the more beauty brands that start to use food industry waste, the more accessible and economically viable the system will become.

‘Hopefully we can establish a demand for food waste materials,’ he says. ‘Lemon seed oil, for example, is a much more sustainable alternative to palm oil but it’s also ten times more expensive at the moment. Luckily by being resourceful in other areas, we can use lemon seed oil and keep our price competitive.’

Indeed, Fruu’s products are priced fairly, with a lip balm £3. In a world where ‘organic’ and ‘green’ beauty products often come with a gulp-inducing price tag, food-waste beauty has the chance to become a democratic alternative.

‘If we want to see a truly sustainable world, we have to make sure sustainability is available and affordable to everyone, not just a small fraction of people,’ says Chung.

Using food waste in beauty treats has the potential to benefit everyone, from small growers and farmers (who can earn more money by selling waste) to consumers looking for ethical lotions and potions. Orange pulp at the ready — this is the kind of beauty trend that will leave the right taste in your mouth.