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"Game-changer" recycling scheme seeks to slash beauty waste

Gaelle Walker
02 March 2021

UK beauty consumers are being offered a new way to help stem the sector’s flow of plastic pollution via a new Return To Recycle initiative, launched by ReBOUND Returns in partnership with Handle Recycling.

With salons, which commonly act as beauty packaging recycling hubs closed, the new online scheme incentivises consumers to return their empty beauty packaging for recycling via ReBOUND’s network of collection points and parcel carriers.

Packaging is then sent to a dedicated recycling facility where it is sorted and reprocessed, with much of it diverted to Handle - which makes handles for beauty accessories out of recycled beauty packaging.

Furthermore, Handle will plant a tree via Ecologi for every bag dropped off to offset the carbon emissions generated through transit.

ReBOUND’s digital solution has rewards built-in so retailers can connect the recycling programme with existing promotions, or launch a new reward scheme to incentivise shoppers to participate.

The beauty sector produces more than 120 billion units of packaging globally and shoppers were becoming increasingly mindful of their own impact, ReBOUND head of sustainability Emily Cotterill said.

A recent survey of 1,000 shoppers by the platform found that 64% were now more conscious of the environmental impact of shopping online since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis.

When asked which initiative they’d most like to see retailers roll out, 43% ranked sustainable packaging as the most important to them - above carbon emission reduction and manufacturing with sustainable materials.

Shopper demand for more sustainable retail has never been higher and our research shows the global pandemic is increasing consumer awareness of the human impact on the planet,” Cotterill added.

“ReBOUND’s new Return to Recycle solution ensures that even in a national lockdown, shoppers can continue to reduce waste and be rewarded for their efforts.”

Handle founder and chief executive Steve Banks added: “Our business relies on collecting empty beauty packaging from retailers and consumers.

“With salons and shops currently closed, our return bins cannot be used, so ReBOUND’s online recycling portal is a game-changer.”

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