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Over 95% of beauty packaging is thrown away after just one use, Beauty Kitchen is at the forefront of forcing the industry to change
British B-Corp brand Beauty Kitchen is launching a pioneering circular packaging model that will help the entire beauty industry tackle its packaging problem head-on. The programme, called Re, is designed to stop single-use plastic at every stage of the supply chain.
Normally, beauty innovators keep their cards close to their chest. Jo Chidley, founder of Beauty Kitchen and Re is breaking boundaries by letting the entire industry in on her trailblazing business model. From body care to makeup, the cradle to cradle model is set to harness the power of refillable products to allow consumers to buy their favourite beauty products without the impact of single-use packaging.
Chidley says: “We want every business in the country to join this initiative. This launch should be seen as an open-ended invite to join us. Collaboration is key to us paving the way for a sustainable future.”
We have all read that our industry produces 120 billion units of plastic a year but sometimes tackling the issues in our daily lives feels like a huge feat. Re will make it easy for everyone – producers to consumers – to make a small change that’ll protect the planet.
“Jo Chidley is a scientist and environmentalist who is dedicated to making eco-friendlier, standardised packaging not just available for indie brands but for the industry at large. This is about accessibility, value and choice for the consumer,” says Lisa Oxenham, Beauty and Style Director at Marie Claire.
How will the Re packaging programme work?
Hi-tech Smart Re bottles are the star child of this environmentally conscious launch. The bottles, which are made from steel, glass and next-generation washable plastics, can be bought empty or prefilled. Then, this is where things get interesting, each bottle can be tracked by both businesses and customers. After downloading an app on your phone and scanning the bottle’s unique QR code, you can view its infinite journey, plant trees, earn rewards and rest easy knowing it’ll never go to landfill.
Alongside the immortal bottles, Re is also launching refill stations and interactive returns. After using up products, customers can wash their bottles and watch them re-enter the supply chain or refill them with their beauty go-to’s. You will only have to refill the bottle once before its global warming impact is less than a plastic bottle – it’s that simple.
Which brands are taking part?
Even though the programme was only released this week, two big-name beauty brands are already implementing Re so you can get your hands on a bottle straight away. Unilever, which owns beauty cupboard essential brands like Radox and Simple, has started to roll out refill stations and prefilled Re Smart Bottles into ASDA stores in the UK.
If you can’t get to a superstore, indie brand Elemis is working with Beauty Kitchen too. Oriele Frank, Chief Product & Sustainability Officer at the brand says: “We are in a pilot program with Beauty Kitchen to offer refillable options for two of our products, with an aim to have fully recyclable and reusable packaging by 2025. This is a personal interest for everyone at Elemis, and it is our mission to do better for the planet – not only for us but for generations to come.”
This is only the beginning. The Beauty Kitchen team have set their sights on solving the packaging issue across laundry, home care, personal care, food and drink too. They aim to save over 100 million empty bottles from landfill by the end of 2024.
If we all made the switch to using one Re bottle, we’d not only be helping the founders hit their goals but we’d be saving the planet too. Chidley explains, “We are launching Re to kickstart a nationwide push towards a circular economy. It’s time to make the circular economy happen now.”
We were lucky enough to sit down with Jo who shared her top tips for living sustainably now. She emphasised how easy it was to make easy switches in the home for more eco-friendly living. Jo recommends swapping wipes for konjac sponges, sheet masks for multi-use masks, cotton wool for reusable face pads and single-use razors for a bamboo one with swappable blades. She is also a huge advocate for using solid haircare bars instead of bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
Here are Jo Chidley’s top five hacks for being more sustainable:
Switch to renewable energy – it’s one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable in the home.
Recycle your bathroom waste – although you might be on your A-game when it comes to recycling your kitchen waste, bathroom waste accounts for up to 40% of total landfill waste in the UK.
Only buy what you need – always try to make to and mend or shop second hand first.
Read the ingredients – When you are buying something new, look for products with reusable packaging and renewable ingredients or materials – for example plant-based microalgae or compostable konjac sponges.
Look out for certifications – Search out products that have planet-friendly certifications such as Cruelty Free, Microplastic free, Vegan certified or B Corp.