John Lewis starts beauty recycling trial where customers get £5 for empties

John Lewis has announced it is launching a new recycling trial that will pay customers who trade in their empty beauty product containers in stores.

The department store is teaming up with TerraCycle to launch the program for select customers, so far half a million loyalty card members have already been invited to take part in order to get rewarded with £5 off beauty purchases and help combat the issue of non-recyclable beauty waste.

Shoppers are encourage to pop along to their nearest store (check details for your local branch online at ) and present their empty packaging for recycling in order to receive money off their next beauty shop. The scheme kicked off on 14 June across 36 stores and will run as part of a month-long trial.

Speaking about the new initiative, Martyn White, Senior Sustainability Manager at John Lewis & Partners, said: “Our customers are becoming more mindful about what they buy and what happens to products once they’ve reached the end of their first life.

"Beauty products are notoriously hard to recycle which can make it hard for customers to know what to do with them, which often means they end up being thrown in the bin. One of our key aims is to make 'being sustainable' as easy as possible for customers, so it doesn't have to be a difficult choice.

"The BeautyCycle trial will help us to do just that, enabling customers to shop and enjoy beauty products in a more sustainable way, ensuring the materials are re-used in the best way possible.”

According to TerraCycle the beauty industry generates over 120 billion packaging items each, with little of that being eligible for conventional recycling schemes.

TerraCycle seeks to combat the issue by taking empty beauty packages and separating them into metals, fibres and plastics. This allows them to be recycled, composted or reused as plastic pellets that can be molded into new products.

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 to be working with John Lewis & Partners to offer their customers the chance to recycle empty beauty products and packaging in John Lewis stores across the UK.”

John Lewis isn't the only major brand to introduce such schemes. MAC Cosmetics has long offered customers the chance to exchange empties for new products, customers can get a free lipstick when returning six empty containers in store.

Neal's Yard also offer shoppers an in store recycling service and the additional option to refill items to reduce the use of single-use plastic .

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