Measuring
Function of Beauty's
Carbon & Waste Footprint

1 About Function of Beauty

2 What we measured

3 How Function of Beauty reduced emissions

4 Comparing waste & emissions to a typical shampoo/conditioner

About Function of Beauty

Function of Beauty is a personal care brand that has leveraged Bluebird’s platform to understand their carbon and waste impact and explore opportunities to improve.

The brand offers customized formulas, with their Custom Shampoo & Conditioner being their most popular products. As a result of their customized product offering, Function of Beauty’s manufactures and ships their products from their own facilities based in the US.

This results in a unique supply chain that is colocated, meaning the different stages of manufacturing are completed at locations close to (or in the same facility) as one another. This reduces the emissions associated with transportation, which is further explained below.  

In the past year, Function of Beauty has made further changes to their Shampoo & Conditioner’s packaging and supply chain. They worked with our platform to understand the carbon and waste footprints of their products and evaluate the impacts of these recent changes.

The analysis, including a comparison against a typical shampoo and conditioner, can be found in the sections below.

What we measured

How a product can change any or all of these factors depends quite a bit on what the product is, especially in terms of the infrastructure currently available for its development. We discovered that there were five major areas of potential for Function of Beauty:

Degradability Icon

Materials and product design

Transportation Icon

Transportation of Materials

Transportation Icon

Transportation of the Product

Recycled Icon

Recyclability

While the above four areas were the most impactful, Function of Beauty measured all potential areas of impact for their shampoo and conditioner.

Note: Given the scope of analysis (which can be found in the methodology link above), the shampoo and conditioner have the same packaging & supply chain inputs, and all calculations presented are for a single unit of either the shampoo or conditioner.

Reducing the Carbon & Waste Footprint for the Custom Shampoo & Conditioner

Materials Icon

Materials and product design

The Shampoo & Conditioner are packaged in the same bottle and cap. The bottle is made of 100% recycled PET (a common and highly recyclable plastic), while the cap is made of virgin aluminum. The previous version of this product was packaged in a virgin plastic bottle– meaning it has no recycled content. The carbon emissions from using virgin PET are 3.8x more than using recycled PET, and this resulted in a 45% reduction in emissions overall from the previous version of the product.

Results

The materials and packaging design have a carbon footprint of 61 gCO2e, accounting for 57 percent of the product’s carbon footprint.

Factory icon

Transportation of materials

The Shampoo and Conditioner’s bottle and cap are sourced domestically within the US. This means the overall transportation distance is about 880 miles between the packaging manufacturer and the manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania where the formula is made and filled into the bottles.

This distance is shorter than the average distance we see for similar packaging sourced for other hair care products; typically this type of packaging is sourced from manufacturers in Asia which might be up to 12,000 miles from the manufacturing facility in the US. By sourcing from a domestic facility, Function of Beauty has about 10% less emissions than if the product’s packaging were sourced in Asia (with all other details about the product & its supply chain kept the same).

Results

The transportation of packaging and materials has a carbon footprint of 8 gCO2e, accounting for 7 percent of the product’s carbon footprint.

Transportation Icon

Transportation of the finished product

Function of Beauty has a unique supply chain compared to the typical brand. In order to support the customization of the Custom Shampoo & Conditioner, they make the formula, fill the product into bottles, and ship the product to customers all in the same facility in Pennsylvania.

Given this, there are no transportation emissions between the manufacturing facility and the distribution center, which is quite unique and leads to low transportation emissions overall for Function of Beauty. Typical hair products can attribute as much as 60% of their emissions to transportation emissions from their supply chain; Function of Beauty’s Shampoo & Conditioner supply chain design allows for a much lower footprint from transportation.

The transportation of the product has a carbon footprint of 0 gCO2e, given the product is shipped to consumers from the same location where it is manufactured. This does not include the shipping of the product to consumers.

Results

In total, transportation and distribution of the product accounts for 0 percent of the product’s carbon footprint!

Recycled Icon

Recyclability

As designed, Function of Beauty’s shampoo and conditioner each include a bottle and a cap, and there is also a pump for each product included in the shipment. Since 2019, Function of Beauty has allowed consumers to opt-out of getting a pump in their shipments. While the bottle and cap for both the 16 oz and 8 oz version of the products are recyclable, the pump is not recyclable and therefore is a significant contributor to the waste footprint of the product. By opting out of the pump version of the product, the waste footprint of the product’s primary packaging is reduced by 74%. If a consumer reused the same pump for a year, this would be the equivalent of saving 142 plastic straws of waste.

In order to fairly calculate waste for recyclable components, we apply the US EPA’s average recycling rate for each material class to the total weight of the component. This gives us a better idea of what portion of packaging materials will actually be recycled, and what portion is likely to be sent to landfill.

The Overall Carbon & Waste Footprint for the Custom Shampoo & Conditioner

Overall, the carbon footprint for the Function of Beauty Shampoo & Conditioner is 106 gCO2e and the waste footprint is 20 grams of waste per unit. Below, you can see the breakdown of the product’s carbon footprint.

Full Size (16 oz)
Shampoo & Conditioner

% of the Total Carbon Impact

Materials and Packaging Design

64 gCO2e

55%

Component Manufacturing

44 gCO2e

38%

Transportation of Materials

8 gCO2e

7%

Transportation of the Product

0 gCO2e

0%

Mini (8 oz) 
Shampoo & Conditioner

% of the Total Carbon Impact

Materials and Packaging Design

58 gCO2e

60%

Component Manufacturing

33 gCO2e

34%

Transportation of Materials

6 gCO2e

6%

Transportation of the Product

0 gCO2e

0%

How Does the Custom Shampoo + Conditioner Compare to a Typical Shampoo & Conditioner?

So, how does Function of Beauty’s custom Shampoo & Conditioner compare to typical shampoo & conditioner?

Carbon impact

Waste impact

One typical bottle of Shampoo / Conditioner

267 gCO2e

24 g

One bottle of Function of Beauty Shampoo / Conditioner

106 gCO2e

20 g

Sustainability Impact

↓ 60% less carbon

↓ 16% less waste

Bluebird’s benchmark database of industry averages was used to calculate the footprint of typical shampoo and conditioner. In our assumption, the average shampoo or conditioner is packaged in a virgin HDPE bottle with a polypropylene disc top cap and a label. Our database also defined the manufacturing, transportation type, and other supply chain details using industry averages.

Here's what those emissions typically look like.

Typical Shampoo + Conditioner

% of the Total Carbon Impact

Materials and Packaging Design

77 gCO2e

29%

Component Manufacturing

41 gCO2e

15%

Transportation of Materials

121 gCO2e

45%

Transportation of the Product

28 gCO2e

10%

Get sustainability insights and new learnings in your inbox (once every few weeks). No spam.

Thanks! We'll be in touch with good emails soon..
Oops! Something went wrong with your email address. Try again.

Join us

Interested in supporting us on our mission?

Browse careers