Ever stand over your trash can or recycling bin, holding a used Beautycounter product, thinking, “What do I do with this?”
Yeah, so do we.
There’s a reason it’s confusing: the infrastructure that handles our recycling does not always capture small items (the technical term is “Small Format Packaging”), even if they are made from recyclable materials. This renders many bottles, jars, compacts, and other commonly used personal-care packaging unrecoverable —regardless of the materials used.
But even if this infrastructure is optimized, human behavior must change. In fact in 2016, only 14 percent of Americans reported recycling bathroom items at all1.
That’s why Beautycounter is working towards innovative sustainable packaging: so our products can be recycled more easily—and after their first use.
You may be curious as to why we have decided to transition to a new disposal labeling system now, and our answer is this: when we began using our past system, it was the best option available to us. The recycling industry is complicated and constantly evolving. It’s directly impacted by the specific recycling facility’s infrastructure, state and federal policies, and how much a material is worth for resale, which is always changing. We have partnered with How2Recycle® to better understand this landscape, as well as to help pass that knowledge on to our Consultants, Members, and Clients. We are constantly striving to evolve our sustainability practices, and will continue to share our journey because transparency is important to us. At the end of the day, progress and positive impact—not perfection—are our goals.
Being part of the solution:
For us, conserving natural resources is about improving our ability to make better products, as well as protecting the places we live and play in. That means addressing a few critical issues head-on.
Plastics are a key part of most consumer goods packaging. They allow us to create, move, store, and use countless things, but most of the plastics we interact with in our daily lives do not end up getting recycled. It’s estimated that 95% of the value of plastic packaging material is lost to the economy each year. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that this lost value translates to $80-120 billion per year2—more than the GDP of many nations. Here’s the good news: we are working hard to figure out ways to help.
In the coming year, Beautycounter intends to begin the shift towards putting more products in plastics that are widely recycled, and also to replace plastics with alternative materials—such as glass—wherever possible. This is an evolving process, but we are committed to making great strides in the coming year. In the meantime, one of our biggest challenges is ensuring that as much of our packaging as possible makes it to recycling facilities.
One of our highest priorities is figuring out ways to minimize the environmental impacts of our products, packaging, and operations—and it starts with each one of us. That’s why we’ve partnered with How2Recycle®, a standardized labeling system that clearly and concisely communicates disposal instructions that everyone can understand.
By combining the most critical pieces of information into one easy-to-interpret symbol, it makes recycling simple and precise. Starting today, you’ll see the labels on applicable product web pages at beautycounter.com, allowing you to check whether certain product packaging is widely recycled, recycled only in certain communities, eligible for store drop-off, or not yet recycled. And late this summer, we will begin phasing in How2Recycle labels on the packaging of new product launches, as size allows. (Any products too small to accommodate a legible label on their packaging will have guidance on their respective product web pages.)
Each How2Recycle® label includes the following information:
● How to prepare the product for recycling (e.g., before recycling, empty, rinse, and discard cap)
● Degree of recyclability (widely recycled, check locally, not yet recycled, or store drop-off)
● Component and its material (e.g., plastic tube, glass bottle, metal lid)
You’ll see that some products are not yet recyclable. This means that many recycling centers will not recover the material, often for one of three reasons: it’s too small (think: lipstick), it’s made of mixed materials, or there is not a big enough market for that material in its recycled form (like dark plastics). The whole beauty industry is challenged by these limitations, and Beautycounter is committed to being a leader in getting more products recycled and recovered. And a gentle reminder: it’s important to keep non-recyclables out of the recycling stream, so please read your labels carefully.
How2Recycle® labels give you all the information you need to responsibly dispose of your Beautycounter products, so they can have future lives as parts of other fantastic products. Working with How2Recycle® also allows all of us to play a part in a movement towards greater stewardship of our natural resources. Thank you for your role in our journey towards #betterbeauty. It’s not only what’s on the inside that counts, but also how we package change.
1 Unilever, J&J Campaigns Aim to “End Bottle Bias”, Boost Bathroom Recycling. Sustainable Brands. Link.
2 The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics. World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Company. 2016. Link.