Beauty recycling scheme introduced into Marks & Spencer stores as part of ongoing sustainability commitment

by | Jun 8, 2023

M&S has introduced beauty recycling stations into 40 stores nationwide, with the hope of collecting over two tonnes of empty beauty packaging in one year

Despite moves made by many brands – including The Body Shop, The Perfume Shop, and Boots – to increase the rate of beauty recycling in the UK, it still remains one of the industry’s biggest ESG challenges.

Back in 2020, the British Beauty Council commissioned the Courage to Change report, which highlighted that every year, 120 billion units of packaging are produced by the global cosmetics industry. Unfortunately, whilst consumer awareness is increasingly shifting, recycling rates across the UK range from between 9-50% due to the tricky nature of beauty’s pumps, pipettes and sachets.

To help tackle the issue, M&S beauty is working with HANDLE  ‘to plug these gaps and seek better end of life options for beauty packaging such as lids and tubes that often fall out of mainstream municipal recycling’. The recycling company works with salons, clinics, spas and retailers like Rodial, Space NK, and Face Gym to try to reach it’s goal of disposing of one million pieces of packaging.

On the new initiative, 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.’

To incentivise consumers to return their empties, Sparks customers who recycle their beauty packaging will also receive 10% off Beauty at M&S until the 5th of July.

This is part of the brand’s ongoing ESG strategy which has seen is become the first major UK clothing retailer to launch a national clothing recycling scheme in partnership with Oxfam and the launch of a plastic take-back scheme in its Food Halls, allowing customers to recycle more packaging, including ‘soft’ plastics that aren’t typically collected for recycling by local authorities in the UK.

The British Beauty Council highlights more brands with beauty take-back schemes on it’s Interactive Recycling Map – find out more here

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