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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Retailers Embrace Reuse, Credits in Ongoing Fight Against Plastic Waste

rePurpose Global helps Thrive Market achieve plastic neutrality for its own-brand products, while The Body Shop expands its refillable offerings in the US.

Thrive Market partners with rePurpose Global to achieve plastic neutrality

Image credit: Thrive Market

Online conscious-living retailer Thrive Market has partnered with rePurpose Global to enable its owned brands to be officially Plastic Neutral certified. Through the partnership, Thrive is supporting the recovery of as much nature-bound plastic waste as it uses across its branded product packaging and shipping materials — offsetting its own-brand plastic use to achieve plastic neutrality.

Through this partnership, Thrive Market is supporting rePurpose’s removal efforts of more than 680,000 pounds of plastic waste otherwise bound for nature by the end of 2023. The brand is supporting rePurpose Global projects in India, Kenya and Colombia to collect and ethically process low-value plastic waste before it enters waterways or is openly burned or dumped in landfills.

Plastic packaging is the leading contributor to plastic waste; and the consumer product goods (CPG) category is a major contributor with the power to drive definitive action to help end the plastic crisis. As a prominent player in CPG, Thrive’s efforts to achieve plastic neutrality form part of its environmentally sustainable operating model — which prioritizes environmental sustainability at the same priority level as efficiency and member experience.

“We have seen the alarming amount of waste generated every day by our industry; so to us, the urgency of the plastic waste crisis was impossible to ignore,” said Kristin De Simone, Senior Mission Manager. “Starting with our owned brands and shipping materials is a signal to the broader business and our brand partners that we’re serious about taking responsibility for the plastic in our products and supply chain.”

Thrive Market, which earned its B Corp certification in 2020, has been carbon neutral since 2014 and is working to be carbon negative by 2025; this action on plastic waste brings Thrive closer to its brand vision to become the world’s first climate-positive grocer.

Through its partnership with rePurpose Global, Thrive Market is also supporting waste workers’ incomes by attaching value to hard-to-recycle plastics; and providing safe, stable and fairly paid employment opportunities through local waste-management enterprises.

In addition, Thrive Market will also partner with rePurpose Global to launch a Plastic Action Working Group for third-party brands to collaborate to drive industry change. The group will focus on sharing best practices, innovations and policy updates to inspire other businesses to join Thrive Market in creating a more sustainable future.

"We are excited to announce our partnership with Thrive Market and further power their inspiring work in tackling the global plastic pollution crisis,” says rePurpose Global CEO and co-founder Svanika Balasubramanian. “Their commitment to financing the recovery of verified nature-bound plastic waste is a testament to their dedication to sustainability, and we are honored to be a part of their journey. Together, we hope to set an example for other businesses and drive positive change in our industry.”

The Body Shop US expands refill program with refillable makeup

Image credit: The Body Shop

Meanwhile — one year after joining personal care brands including Bite, Dior, Fenty Skin, Izzy Beauty and Olay by bringing its own 'refill revolution' to US stores — The Body Shop is expanding its fight against global plastic waste through new, refillable product offerings and in-store stations.

In February, The Body Shop expanded its refill offerings beyond hair care, shower gels and hand soaps to include makeup with the launch of Peptalk Lipstick — which comes in a refillable case made from 100 percent recycled aluminum.

In 2021, the certified B Corp announced an ambitious, five-year plan to roll out refill stations in the majority of its stores and set aggressive targets to save 25 tons of plastic per year through the program. Refill stations are now available in 800 stores around the world; and The Body Shop US now offers refill stations in 50 percent of its stores.

In its first year of operation in the US, the refill program diverted 576 pounds of plastic — the equivalent of 12,749 bottles — from being wasted. Globally, in 2022 alone, the brand's refill program prevented more than half a million plastic bottles from entering the environment.

"We want our customers to understand first and foremost that they can be changemakers — and that even small individual acts, like refilling your shampoo or shower gel in a reusable container, can have a big impact on our planet," said Hilary Lloyd, VP of marketing and corporate social responsibility for The Body Shop North America. "The climate crisis is the greatest risk facing our future, which is why we call on beauty lovers everywhere to use their purchasing power to embrace a circular economy."

Every year, the beauty industry generates billions of pieces of plastic waste that end up in landfills or the ocean. The Body Shop's refill program allows every individual to help drive change, because every bottle counts. And while convenience remains a barrier to widespread adoption of reuse-and-refill programs, younger, more environmentally conscious shoppers have boosted The Body Shop's refill adoption rates in the US. The program is most popular among consumers aged 16-34; sales of refillable products increased 65 percent throughout 2022.

"Young people are cognizant of what's at stake for the planet, which is why they're embracing The Body Shop's ambitious sustainability agenda," Lloyd said.

The beauty retailer is also addressing recycling with Community Fair Trade partner Plastics for Change. Through the partnership, the Body Shop works with waste pickers in Bengaluru, India to remove plastics from the streets while providing livable wages and better working conditions to an informal sector that is often volatile and discriminatory. Since The Body Shop began its partnership in 2019, Plastics for Change has collected 4,409,245 pounds of plastic waste — equivalent to 100 million plastic bottles.