Pure Beauty

The Body Shop rolls out in-store recycling scheme for ‘hard to recycle’ beauty items

By Becky Bargh | Published: 20-Aug-2021

Cosmetics packaging will be made in recycled plastic boards as part of the Return, Recycle and Repeat scheme

Following a handful of beauty brands and retailers, ethical beauty giant The Body Shop has rolled out its Return, Recycle and Repeat scheme to 225 stores across the UK.

Set up in partnership with MyGroup and Scan2Recycle, the companies are helping eco-conscious beauty shoppers sustainably dispose of hard to recycle beauty products.

Toothpaste tubes, mascaras, nail varnishes and make-up brushes are among the beauty packs notoriously difficult to recycle and not traditionally picked up by curbside recyclers.

However, products picked up from The Body Shop’s stores go through a rigorous process in order for them to be reused elsewhere.

The packaging undergoes a quarantine before washing and shredding remove any remaining make-up product. The shredded plastic mix is then heated to more than 200ºC and pressed into recycled plastic boards.

Innovators in recycling materials, ReWorked will use the plastic boards to make furniture, shelters, bins and shop fittings.

“Working with The Body Shop allows us to normalise the recycling of cosmetic and bathroom waste that would usually go to landfill or incineration,” said Izzie Glazzard, Marketing Manager at ReWorked.

“We hope in turn we can positively affect customer behaviour, encouraging responsible shopping and recycling habits.”

The Body Shop has been at the forefront of sustainability for decades.

In 1993 the company’s founder Anita Roddick introduced its ‘Bring Back Our Bottle’ recycling scheme, and the brand is known for popularising the refillable movement that is now adopted by dozens of beauty brands.

“Our founder Anita Roddick pioneered the philosophy that business can be a force for good, and this belief is still The Body Shop’s driving force,” added Linda Campbell, Managing Director for the UK & Ireland.

“We’re constantly looking at ways to develop and improve our sustainability and create positive change.”

And The Body Shop has been elevating its sustainability credentials across other areas of the business.

In March this year, the company announced that it would be expanding its refill stations to its global store fleet.

Some 400 stores are anticipated to have had refill stations installed and a further 400 have been earmarked to debut the system in 2022.

After 30 years of campaigning against animal testing, The Body Shop has also pledged to come Vegan Society-certified by 2023.

However, despite its ethical background, The Body Shop was recently named by the UK government as one of 191 high street businesses that has been underpaying staff.

The company was found to have failed to pay some £34,000 to 959 members of staff.

However, in a statement to Cosmetics Business, The Body Shop said the company had reimbursed the staff members who were owed for uniform costs in 2018.

“We fully cooperated with HMRC during a routine audit in 2018, which identified that we needed to reimburse a number of store-based employees for uniform costs.

“This was to cover clothing that our store-based colleagues wore in our stores from 2015-18; a time when the company was transitioning from its previous ownership.”

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