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The Rise of Circular Beauty: Brands That Offer In-Store Recycling Programs

Le Labo

As we become more environmentally conscious, so too do the brands we shop with. The concept of circular beauty — brands attempting to close the loop on packaging — is rising, with many offering in-house recycling or refilling services.

Most of the beauty packaging currently used is not recyclable and won’t be accepted by your local council’s recycling service. So, a lot of packaging (including lipstick bullets and nail polish bottles) simply have to be thrown in the landfill waste bin. Until manufacturers work to change this, we’ll be shopping the brands and stores with reuse and recycle initiatives in place.

Below, we’ve curated a list of brands who encourage customers to return their clean and empty products in exchange for a reward. Recycling has never felt so good.

M.A.C

If you’ve got quite a few empty M.A.C lipstick bullets laying around, then Back to M.A.C is the program for you. Simply hold onto your glass or plastic M.A.C packaging and take it back to any M.A.C free-standing store or makeup counter and you’ll be given a rewards card that will be stamped each time you return an empty product. Then, after you’ve returned six items, you’ll receive a free M.A.C lipstick of your choosing.

When your packaging is returned, it is sent to M.A.C’s recycling partner Close The Loop. From here, the packaging is recycled into asphalt, cement, or shredded and combined with other plastics to be used in the manufacture of new products.

Lush

Handmade cosmetics brand Lush is constantly trying to better its practices when it comes to the use of plastic. A few of Lush’s initiatives include a range of naked products (sans packaging) as well as the use of paper bags over plastic. Lush also offers a recycling program — simply bring back five empty, clean black Lush pots to your local store and you’ll be gifted with a free Fresh Face Mask.

Kiehl’s

Kiehl’s have a partnership with recycling company TerraCycle called Recycle & Be Rewarded. Simply donate your empty bottles to any Kiehl’s store and they’ll be sent on to TerraCycle. These bottles are then repurposed into other things, including children’s playgrounds.

And, when you return your bottles to Kiehl’s, you’ll also be rewarded with a little present. If you return three empty bottles, you’ll receive a deluxe sample, a bag of calendula seeds and a Kiehl’s pouch. For five empty bottles, the gift is two deluxe samples, one sachet sample and a Kiehl’s pouch. For 10 bottles returned, the gift is a Kiehl’s sustainable tote.

Le Labo

Fragrance brand Le Labo is known for producing chic fragrances and personal care products, but the company also offers a refill program for its renowned scents. Simply bring your empty Le Labo bottle back to the store to have it refilled with your signature fragrance. You’ll also receive 20% off for your efforts, which is pretty damn good. The refilling service isn’t currently available at all stores, so check with your local Le Labo shop to see if they offer it.

The Body Shop

Just like Kiehl’s, The Body Shop has also partnered with TerraCycle to offer a recycling program for their products. Simply bring your empty plastic bottles, tubs, tubes and pots back to your local store and ask a team member about how to recycle the products. Love Your Body Club members will receive a $5 reward when they return five products from The Body Shop — so it’s worth flagging it with a staff member so they can add the reward to your customer account.

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