Sephora Debuts New Packaging Recycling Program

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Sephora is rolling out a new sustainability initiative aimed at reducing reliance on hard-to-recycle packaging materials. 

The beauty retailer will partner with Pact Collective to launch the Beauty (Re)Purposed program across 600 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The initiative aims to make it easier and more accessible for shoppers to recycle or refill packaging, much of which is made from plastic or other tough-to-recycle materials.

Sephora is also hoping the program will enable more consistency across the board and offer customers a way to safely and efficiently recycle packaging regardless of regionally differing practices and laws.

Beauty (Re)Purposed will be an ongoing initiative for Sephora and the hope is that all beauty consumers will now consider leveraging Sephora as a destination for their empties and partner for good,” the company said in a statement. 

A Broader Look at Sustainable Beauty 

Sustainable practices are booming across the beauty industry. The Body Shop is just one of the many beauty retailers to extend its sustainable packaging program this year.

In 2021, the retailer laid out an ambitious commitment to have the majority of its stores, globally, fitted with refill stations within five years. Through the initiative, the company said it could save 25 tons of plastic per year. In 2022, the store also announced it would extend the refill program to stores across the U.S., eventually meeting its goal to offer refill stations in 50 percent of its stores by the end of the year. 

According to a recent survey by Power Reviews, 76% of consumers say they are focused on buying products that are sustainably made and Simon Kucher's Global Sustainability Study 2021 found 60% of consumers around the world listed sustainability as an important purchase criterion. Over a third (35%) of consumers also said they were willing to pay more for sustainable products or services.

There is work to be done, however. Currently, just 9% of global plastic waste is recycled and 22% is mismanaged, according to a 2022 report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

A recent article in CNN lists the cosmetics industry as the fourth largest contributor to plastics production globally, topped only by food and beverage, industrial packaging, and pharmaceuticals. According to Vantage Market Research, plastic makes up about 67% of the beauty industry's packaging volume. 

“[T]he reality is that discarding beauty packaging can be complex for many consumers,” said Desta Raines, director of sustainability at Sephora. “It was important for Sephora to find a partner like Pact who shares our values and, in collaboration, can help to educate our clients and the broader industry in making the process more accessible for all.”

Interested in learning more about how retailers are setting the stage for a more sustainable future? Join us for the inaugural Value Chain Tech Event this Fall! 

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