M&S and HANDLE introduce beauty packaging recycling initiative

M&S and HANDLE introduce beauty packaging recycling initiative

Sustainability

Marks & Spencer has joined forces with HANDLE, renowned experts in beauty recycling, to introduce the Beauty Takeback Scheme across more than 40 stores throughout the UK. This innovative programme aims to address the challenge of recycling hard-to-recycle beauty packaging materials that often end up in landfills, by transforming them into new packaging and products.

According to Zero Waste Week, the beauty industry faces significant sustainability obstacles, with a staggering 120 billion units of packaging produced globally each year. Unfortunately, the UK government say the recycling rates for beauty packaging in the UK vary between 9% and 50%, primarily due to specific packaging types that aren't processed by mainstream recycling infrastructure. HANDLE collaborates with retailers, brands, and manufacturers to bridge these gaps and explore improved end-of-life options for beauty packaging components such as lids, tubes, pumps, sachets, and pipettes, which are typically excluded from standard municipal recycling programmes.

Starting this month, M&S customers can participate in the scheme by returning any plastic or aluminium beauty packaging, regardless of the retailer, through dedicated collection boxes conveniently placed in the beauty section of participating stores. In its first year alone, the initiative is projected to collect over two tonnes of empty beauty packaging. The HANDLE programme is designed to evolve from a simple take-back and recycling system to a circular approach, where new products and packaging are crafted from the collected materials.

M&S and HANDLE introduce beauty packaging recycling initiative
Empty beauty product packaging can be dropped off at 40 M&S stores across the UK © M&S

To mark the launch of this scheme, Sparks customers who recycle their beauty packaging will receive an exclusive 10% discount on Beauty at M&S until July 5th. By scanning the QR code on the Beauty Takeback box in-store, customers can effortlessly avail themselves of this offer through their Sparks' Hub.

Carmel McQuaid, Head of ESG at M&S, commented: We're passionate about creating simple solutions that help our customers live lower carbon lives. Plastic is one of the biggest challenges facing the beauty industry and whilst there is still lots more to do, we hope this scheme encourages customers to recycle their beauty empties to give them a second life and reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfill. Alongside our other schemes, including Shwopping and plastic takeback, it's one of the many ways we're driving the circular economy on our roadmap to net zero.

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