The Body Shop launches plastic recycling initiative

Portrait of a female waste-picker made from 1,500 recycled plastic items hand-collected by waste-pickers in Bengaluru, India.

Portrait of a female waste-picker made from 1,500 recycled plastic items hand-collected by waste-pickers in Bengaluru, India.

Beauty and body care retailer The Body Shop is stepping up its sustainability efforts with the launch of its new recycling scheme that helps consumers recycle their empty packaging.

The new initiative, which will launch in Australia on June 10, allows customers to return their empty bottles, jars, tubs, tubes and pots in The Body Shop stores for recycling.

The scheme, established in partnership with recycling company TerraCycle, was introduced in the UK, Canada and France on May 10. It will be introduced in Germany soon.

In a bid to tackle plastic pollution, the global personal care brand has also announced it plans to purchase 250 tonnes of community-trade recycled plastic from Bengaluru, India, and use them in nearly three million 250ml haircare bottles by the end of 2019.

According to The Body Shop, it has already started using community-trade recycled plastic in 250ml haircare bottles in partnership with Plastics for Change and soon, the retailer said it will include its bestselling Ginger Shampoo. The bottles will contain 100 per cent recycled plastic, excluding the bottle caps.

Fifteen per cent of that will be community-trade recycled plastic; the remainder will be recycled plastic from European sources.

“The Body Shop will increase the amount of community trade Recycled plastic over time,” the retailer said. “Working with a start-up company and small waste picker communities means starting small and scaling up in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

This move marks the start of a wider ambition for The Body Shop, which is to introduce community-trade recycled plastic across all plastic used by The Body Shop within three years.

The company said over the course of three years the program will scale up to purchasing over 900 tonnes of community-trade recycled plastic and help empower up to 2500 waste pickers in Bengaluru.

The retailer’s new campaign uses experiential marketing to tell people about the plight of waste-pickers in India and how it aims to help them by paying a fairer price for their work.

“They will receive a fair price for their work, a predictable income and access to better working conditions,” The Body Shop announced. “They will also get help in accessing services such as education, financial loans and healthcare services, and the respect and recognition they deserve.”

As part of their campaign, The Body Shop has commissioned a portrait of a female waste-picker made from 1500 recycled plastic items hand-collected by waste-pickers in Bengaluru. The installation was on display in London’s Borough Market from May 10 to 11.

“As a company, we’ve always had the conviction to stand up for our principles when it comes to helping empower people, especially women, while protecting our planet,” said Lee Mann, Global Community Trade manager for The Body Shop.

“Our new partnership with Plastics for Change and our other partners will not only help support waste pickers but also champion plastic as a valuable, renewable resource when used responsibly.”

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