Global – Consumer electronics may be a multi-billion dollar industry, but the same goes for the cosmetics sector, which was worth US$ 460 billion in 2014 and is estimated to reach US$ 675 billion by 2020 ‘ growing at a rate of 6.4%. According to TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky, the link between the cosmetics and recycling market will become a lot stronger now big brands are noticing that one of the fastest growing influences on consumer purchasing behaviour are a sustainable reputation.
Difficult-to-recycle waste streams including cosmetics packaging are ‘not typically profitable’ to recycle in the current infrastructure, laments Szaky. While it is technically possible to recycle them, the packaging in question is quite hard to clean and is often comprised of mixed materials, mostly plastics and some metal elements.
The entrepreneur stresses that consumers have the power to demand that their favourite brands reduce waste. He points out that a positive development is that sustainable sourcing of raw materials in cosmetics is gaining popularity, Szaky observes. Another positive sign is that more and more major cosmetics manufacturers have launched take-back recycling initiatives.
For example, L’OrÃ©al Australia and its brand Garnier have teamed up with TerraCycle to provide a second life for used personal care and beauty packaging through the free Beauty Products Recycling Program.
TerraCycle manufactures recycled and upcycled products, ranging from packaging for cleaning products, backpacks and the world’s first pen created from recycled pens. It claims that it recycles – by volume – more than 97% of waste collected. TerraCycle currently operates in over 20 countries, engaging over 60 million people. The company has won over 200 awards for social entrepreneurship and is committed to finding affordable recycling solutions for ‘non-recyclable’ waste streams.
Also, US cosmetics brand Origins has recycled cosmetic packaging from any brand since 2009, when it launched what it claims is the beauty industry’s’ first-ever recycling programme. Origin’s packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials produced by renewable energy sources.
‘Green’ cosmetics has become such a hot topic that a special event – namely the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit – devoted to this phenomenon will take place in SÃ£o Paulo on 14-15 September. Besides the Latin America edition, the European edition will take place in Paris on 24-26 October, and the Asia-Pacific edition will take place on 14-15 November in Hong Kong.
Source: The Huffington Post