Scheme reuses hard-to-recycle beauty products

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BEAUTY product recycling scheme has been introduced by John Lewis & Partners at its shops across the UK.

Called BeautyCycle, the scheme rewards customers for bringing back empty
containers and is expected to save four tonnes of plastic packaging from going to landfill each year.

The scheme was first trialled by John Lewis in June this year and proved ‘extremely successful’ with over 3,000 customers using the service in one month.

Every time a customer takes five empty make-up or skincare beauty products from any brand to a John Lewis Beauty Department they will be given £5 off any beauty product they buy that day.

Beauty product packaging is considered particularly hard to recycle because beauty products are designed to be squeezable, twistable and portable and often contain caps, labels and pumps.

As a result few local authorities will recycle it.

To recycle empty beauty products brought back by customers, the store chain has teamed up with recycling company TerraCycle whose mission is to ‘eliminate the idea of waste’.

They do this by recycling the “previously non-recyclable” and diverting waste from landfills and incinerators.

According to TerraCycle, the global cosmetics industry produces 120 billion units of packaging each year.

TerraCycle takes empty beauty packages and separates them into metals, fibres and plastics.

Each component part is then recycled, composted or in the case of plastics, made into pellets which can be molded into new products like storage containers, plastic lumber and outdoor furniture.

Stephen Cawley, Partner and Head of Sustainability at John Lewis, said: “The response to our BeautyCycle trial in June was overwhelming and showed just how important recycling is to our customers.

“By working with TerraCycle our customers can be confident that every part of their
packaging will be recycled.”

Laure Cucuron, General Manager for TerraCycle Europe, said: “Very few beauty products or beauty product packaging, outside of say plastic bottles, are accepted by most council kerbside recycling systems due to the complexity of the material.

“So we are delighted that the successful trial that we ran with John Lewis & Partners earlier this year has now been made a permanent recycling scheme to enable their customers the chance to recycle empty beauty products and packaging in John Lewis shops across the UK.”

The scheme accepts all types of packaging, from shampoo bottles and caps to lotion bottles and jars, lip gloss and mascara tubes.

The only packaging not accepted by the scheme is aerosol cans, nail varnish bottles and fragrance bottles, due to their potential flammability.

John Lewis & Partners has committed to ensuring all of its own brand product packaging is either easily recyclable or reusable by 2023.