Start Buying Your Lip Balm in Recycled Paper Tubes

Both product and packaging are natural and compostable.

lip therapy balms lined up in a row

Treehugger / Free the Ocean

Did you know that more than half a million lip balms are purchased every day? For many people, this little product is a must-have for keeping lips smooth and moisturized and for preventing painful cracks, particularly during cold winter months. But not all lip balms are created equal, and if you buy cheap conventional plastic tubes, you could be exacerbating an environmental problem—and not doing your health any favors.

To begin with, conventional lip balm not only comes in plastic tubes, but is made using forms of plastic. Most lip balms contain synthetic waxes and petroleum-derived ingredients like paraffin or mineral oil, probably not what you want to be slathering on your lips, and thus inadvertently ingesting, all day long.

Lip balm tubes are not curbside-recyclable because they are small enough to clog up the machinery and are typically made using a combination of different plastics. This is why you often see old lip balm tubes littering coastlines and street gutters. There they will linger and gradually break down, though it could take hundreds of years. 

There's a much better option out there. Lip Therapy Balms come in a paper tube that's made from 100% post-consumer waste recycled paperboard. The tubes work by squeezing the product upward, which means you'll get every little bit out—and then you can compost it in your backyard after use.

lip therapy balm closeup

Free the Ocean

The balm itself is made using premium natural ingredients, blending botanical butters and oils for a formula that will nourish your lips better than any synthetic product can. It's handmade in California and comes in six flavors that you can buy separately or as a set—Ruby Red Grapefruit, Lavender Lemon, Vegan Pacific Peppermint, Cali Orange, Pacific Mint, Vegan Coastal Berry. 

Free the Ocean (FTO) sells Lip Therapy Balms in its online store, describing them as "candy for your lips." Mimi Ausland, FTO's co-founder, "Say goodbye to lip balm packaged in plastic. These colorful lip therapy balms will make your lips (and the planet) happy. Use to the end and then compost or recycle the paper tube—a simple swap with meaningful impact."

FTO's happy customers can attest to the lip balm's efficacy and appeal. One Vermont-based shopper said it was "a miracle, and lovely to use." Another said, "I was truly surprised when I received my tube. Loved the eco-friendly tube it comes in! The balm itself is so soft, it soothes your lips immediately." Another customer wrote, "[I] was going to give a few away, but kept them all for myself. I know what I'm getting family and friends as stocking stuffers, though."

Lip balm in paper tubes makes far more sense than plastic. This is an excellent example of where opting for a natural, compostable material in no way compromises the experience of using a product; if anything, it improves it drastically. If you haven't tried lip balm in paper tubes yet, this is a great chance to do so—and you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner. The tubes cost $8 each or a set of five for $36.

To purchase and for more information, visit Free the Ocean.