Upcycled ingredients – what are they?

In the past year you’ll have heard quite a bit about upcycled ingredients within the beauty and cosmetic industry with smaller, independent businesses and brands harnessing the power of nature within their formulations whilst also using ingredients that would otherwise be wasted.

When there is so much waste within the beauty and cosmetic industry plus the food industry as a whole, upcycled ingredients can only be a good thing.

Upcircle is a beauty brand that is at the forefront of the ingredient upcycling revolution. They started out upcycling used coffee grounds from coffee shops, adding them to their amazing scrub formulations and now many of their skincare and bodycare products contain upcycled ingredients. From discarded fruit stones to maple bark extract, they’re leading the way with their upcycling message by using pretty fab and potent ingredients.

Many small brands were doing this before Upcircle but there’s no doubt that their name and their innovative way of using used coffee grounds in their formulations has pushed them to the front of the movement. They’ve got a lot of clout these days and are definitely one to watch, they are pretty impressive.

There are many brands now that upcycle ingredients in really imaginative and original ways too. From packaging that degrades in months to seeds pressed for their powerful oils.

But where do most of these upcycled ingredients come from? well, the food industry is a funny one. An ingredient, say a strawberry, that’s used for juicing won’t use the entire strawberry, the seeds are usually discarded. But the seeds hold an oil that is amazing for skincare and probably dental too, but we are working on that with our children’s toothpaste 😉

The seeds are then able to be repurposed instead of being thrown away.

There’s so much wastage when it comes to ingredients used for food and drink due to legislation and health restrictions plus sadly, many food ingredients are tested on animals so it’s not an easy thing to find a upcycled ingredient that is vegan and cruelty free.

So this is where the upcycled ingredients come from, mostly, the food industry. Upcycling allows us to use the whole plant and not waste anything. Which is what Organically Epic are all about, reducing waste as must as possible.

So it would come as no surprise that Upcycled ingredients are also contained within our Antioxidant Brightening Toothpaste.

Now I’d always wanted sugar cane bio plastic tubes. Plastic tubes that were made with sugar cane and without fossil fuels. All of the plus points of plastic but without most of the negatives. Perfect for a bathroom product that could get smashed or damage bathrooms if it were contained in glass. Not to mention that glass is also very heavy and carbon intensive to produce. It just wasn’t the one for me. Sugar cane is a by product of the sugar industry. Pulp that is otherwise discarded is used to make bioplastic, it’s very very clever. Sugar cane also sequesters a large amount of carbon so our sugar cane tubes tick two huge boxes, it’s upcycled and it’s also carbon negative due to the harvesting and production process. Yay!

But what about the ingredients within our toothpaste?

When I first started formulating our toothpaste, I had 3 must haves, it must be certified organic, certified vegan and certified cruelty free. They were my non negotiables. With a name like Organically Epic we need to live and breath our values and ethos. One of my nice to haves was to have at least one upcycled ingredient in the formulation, however, this was proving quite difficult and I’d let this request go after exhausting all avenues.

Dental is a tricky one you see, tricky in that all ingredients need to be food grade and they need to be proven to work, for us at least. Unlike skincare where you can have a vast array of ingredients to use, our options for a natural and organic toothpaste that addressed dental issues was limited. So, having realised I’d bitten off quite more than I can chew my nice to haves were fading fast.

The formulation we have now is not the original formulation we were going to launch. We had a super amazing innovative preservative that was also going to provide antioxidant properties, something that had not been seen before in dental. It was also COSMOS certified. Amazing right?? Well, a huge spanner was put in the works just before the Brexit date and just before we were going to launch – yes launch – we’d gone through the months and months of microbial and stability testing…. the supplier of the fancy ingredient told us they could no longer supply to the UK. I’ll never know why as they didn’t elaborate.

Cue lots of sleepless night, frantic phone calls to our dental manufacturer and more than one thought of ‘can I do this’.

Then out of a crisis comes the light

My dental manufacturer was working on the formulation percentages and we were trying to work out what natural and possibly organic ingredient could provide proven powerful antioxidant capabilities when they got an email with regard to new dental ingredients on the market. In that email were the stats for a cranberry extract that not only had data to back up claims that it contained a high amount of anti caries (caries are the little buggers that cause tooth decay and cavities) so it does a similar job as fluoride but it was also an upcycled ingredient from wastage in the juicing industry.

Finally, after all the heart ache of having to reformulate I could now make a toothpaste, that addressed dnetal issues such as cavities, brighting, tooth decay and gum disease whilst also being organic, cruelty free, vegan and with 2 upcycled ingredients in the form of our cranberry extract and sugar cane tubes.

Reducing carbon, wastage and supporting the earth via organic farming – that’s the dream and I’m so pleased we got there in the end.

Our toothpaste has been on the market for nearly a year and we are so pleased it could tick all these sustainable boxes.

Wanna buy yours to see what the fuss is about? click here 🙂

Jayne x

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