John Lewis encourages customers to recycle beauty empties with new in-store scheme

Department store John Lewis is the latest company to join the war on single-use plastics, launching a recycling scheme that rewards customers who trade in beauty empties in store. 

Half a million loyalty card members have been invited to take part in the BeautyCycle trial in a bid to help combat the issue of non-recyclable beauty waste – last month the UK Government confirmed it was banning plastic straws and cotton buds because of the damage they do to the environment.

Shoppers just have to present their empty beauty packaging for recycling at their local John Lewis branch, receiving £5 off their next beauty shop for doing their part. The only empties that can’t be dropped off are perfume bottles, nail varnish and aerosol cans. 

The company has teamed up with TerraCycle for the scheme, who will pick up the plastic packaging and separate the metal, fibre and plastic products to be recycled or composted. 

"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,” said Martyn White, senior sustainability manager at John Lewis & Partners.  

“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.”

The scheme officially kicked off on June 14 and is running as part of a month-long trial in 36 stores across the UK.  

According to TerraCycle, the beauty industry generates more than 120 billion packaging items each year, but change is happening. The ban on microbeads in cosmetic products came into force last year and others think wet wipes could face the chop next.

Another free recycling service has also made the news because it's helping beauty businesses who are struggling to meet their sustainability targets.  

Would you launch a scheme like this in your salon or spa? Comment below.