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Waste Not
Sports World, CPG Brands Continue Charge Toward Sustainable Plastics Use

Announcements this week take skincare into refillable pods, set new standards designed to protect environment amid climate crisis, and increase recycled content in packaging.

Olay becomes first mass retail skincare brand to test refillable packaging

This morning at SB’19 Detroit, Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard; and Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias announced that Olay will pilot a new way of packaging skincare that could dramatically reduce the amount of plastic used in the beauty category.

Running from October through the end of 2019, Olay Regenerist Whip moisturizer will come with a refill pod that fits right in the jar. If adopted, and the brand moved a significant portion of Olay Regenerist moisturizer jars to refillable pods (e.g. 5 million jars' worth), it would save over 1 million pounds of plastic.

Consumers will be able to purchase the refillable Olay Regenerist Whip package that contains one full jar of Olay Regenerist Whip and one refill pod of moisturizer that can be placed inside the jar once it’s emptied. The package will be sold and shipped in a container made of 100 percent recycled paper and will not contain an outer carton in order to reduce the use of paperboard. The pods themselves are made of polypropylene, which is recyclable.

Olay’s refillable product concept is just one step in the brand’s commitment to making more of its packages recyclable or reusable, as part of P&G’s larger sustainability initiatives. P&G was the first CPG company to join TerraCycle’s innovative Loop platform, where its leading brands are redesigning their packaging and supply chain processes.

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Associate Director of Brand Communications, Global Skin and Personal Care Brands at P&G Anitra Marsh, who leads the global sustainability task force for those categories, says: “The ultimate goal is to find and adopt many more sustainable packaging solutions, and the refillable Olay Regenerist Whip package is the first step of that journey. It’s really important for us to get it right, because only then can we bring this concept to market at scale.”

Olay will test its refillable Olay Regenerist Whip moisturizer on in the US and UK, and select retailers online for a three-month period, then evaluate the outcome to inform future packaging. Olay hopes to learn more about the way consumers interact with refillable products in beauty — e.g. whether or not consumers like the idea of refillable skincare products and whether Olay’s design is intuitive. Over time the refills could be sold separately.

Olay is also innovating in smart skincare with Olay Skin Advisor, Olay Labs (another successful pilot program by Olay) and other technologies that help people find and buy the right products for them.

“Much of the waste in skincare is a result of consumers buying products that don’t work as intended or do not meet their specific needs — then, women are left with products that they buy and then don’t use,” Marsh says. “We call this ‘the skincare graveyard,’ which often goes to a landfill. If we can get each woman or man the right regimen for his or her specific skincare needs, we will also reduce the amount of waste.”

World Surf League becoming carbon neutral, eliminating single-use plastics by end of 2019


On Tuesday, the World Surf League (WSL) announced a series of sustainability commitments that set a new standard for global professional sports. These commitments — designed to inspire, educate and empower ocean lovers while addressing critical environmental issues — apply to all WSL Championship Tour and Big Wave Tour events and include: 

1.    Becoming carbon neutral globally by the end of 2019;

2.    Eliminating single-serve plastics by the end of 2019; and

3.    Leaving each place better than it was found.

This effort builds on the WSL’s existing ocean conservation efforts, including WSL PURE (Protecting, Understanding and Respecting the Environment), its nonprofit arm. As part of its announcement today, the WSL is also launching a global marketing campaign and inviting members of the ocean community to make the PURE pledge to “Stop Trashing Waves and join a worldwide paddle out on June 15 in honor of International Surfing Day.

“The WSL is incredibly proud to break new ground in sports in the urgent battle against climate change and ocean pollution,” said WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “We believe it’s our responsibility to be ‘all in’ with our efforts to protect the ocean and beaches amid the devastating climate crisis we all face. We invite everyone who cares about the ocean to join us."

Some facts that have propelled the WSL to make these commitments:

  • Because of increased global temperatures, the ocean has absorbed more than 90 percent of the excess heat in the atmosphere, which causes more frequent and intense storms and dangerously rising sea levels, and is seriously endangering coral reefs.

  • Approximately 30 percent of the carbon in the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, causing acidification that further harms coral reefs and other marine life.

  • Plastics break down into small microparticles that are ingested by marine life, ultimately entering the food we eat and water we drink.

The specifics of the WSL commitments include: 

  • Becoming carbon neutral globally by the end of 2019, including at WSL Championship Tour and Big Wave Tour events. The WSL is offsetting its carbon footprint by investing in and supporting projects such as REDD+- and Verified Carbon Standard-certified carbon offset projects that have a focus on restoring and protecting natural ecosystems and renewable energy ecosystems and are based in each of the WSL’s regions.

  • The WSL will also reduce its carbon footprint by regionalizing its operation, limiting non-essential travel and implementing policies to reduce carbon emissions at its offices.

  • The WSL carbon offset program is calculated and curated in partnership with STOKE (Sustainable Tourism & Outdoors Kit for Evaluation) — a certification organization with standards built specifically for surf and mountain tourism operators, destinations and affiliated events.

  • Eliminating single-serve plastics from WSL Championship Tour and Big Wave Tour events by the end of 2019: The WSL is specifically targeting food-service items such as bottled beverages, cutlery and cups. 

  • Leaving each WSL Championship Tour and Big Wave Tour stop better than it was found: The WSL is reducing its event footprint and developing a financial grant program to commit money to local projects and nonprofits that are working to safeguard our coasts and protect these habitats.

“So stoked that the WSL is setting this amazing example, and I hope all other professional sports follow their lead – and soon!” said Dr. Ayana Johnson, marine biologist and founder of Ocean Collectiv and Urban Ocean Lab. “Where governments fail to lead, business can and should step all the way up to address our intertwined climate and biodiversity crises.”

"I think it's a great stance and an important message to send to people around the world,” said 11-time WSL Champion and Outerknown founder Kelly Slater. “The ocean is vital to everyone — for food, for oxygen and especially to us surfers. I think everyone should make it their priority to care about this issue and make changes in their lives to help."

As part of the commitment, the WSL is launching the multi-faceted “Stop Trashing Waves” campaign. Creative features pro surfers Conner Coffin, Filipe Toledo, Carissa Moore, Coco Ho, Tatiana Weston Webb, Paige Alms, Greg Long, Kai Lenny and Bianca Valenti; and will appear across social media and other platforms.

“In the sport of surfing and beyond, it’s imperative that we all act immediately,” said Reece Pacheco, WSL SVP of Ocean Responsibility and Executive Director of WSL PURE. “Looking ahead, we plan to inspire more and more people to join us in reducing and offsetting their emissions through our upcoming carbon calculator and offset platform.”

Happy Family Organics announces 2025 packaging goals

Meanwhile, on Monday, Happy Family Organics® joined the charge towards a circular packaging economy, becoming the first organic baby food brand in the US to pledge to make its packaging fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. These ambitions build on the certified B Corp's ongoing commitment to environmental transparency and accountability.

"At Happy Family Organics, we're far more than producers of organic baby food. We aim to be pioneers in sustainable agriculture and manufacturing practices, knowing that the health of our planet affects the long-term health of our children," said Anne Laraway, CEO of Happy Family Organics. "These commitments are a step in the right direction, and we recognize that global, systemic change is needed to truly make an impact. As parents, the notion that any of our packaging ends up in landfills is not ok with us. That's why we're partnering with leading sustainability organizations to help scale our initiatives, and we encourage other companies with a mission to serve children to join this global commitment to create a more sustainable future for our kids."

Happy Family Organics is committing to transforming its packaging in three ways:

Designing for circularity

Currently, 75 percent of Happy Family Organics packaging by weight is recyclable, but the company is committed to making that 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. The path to recyclability isn't as simple as designing packaging to be recycled — it also requires systemic change to address infrastructure challenges that prevent recyclable materials from being recycled in practice. So, Happy Family is engaging and collaborating with organizations including Closed Loop Partners, Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and OSC² to identify and implement initiatives that will ensure the proper end-of-life processing of its packaging.

One of the company’s primary packaging initiatives is developing a recyclable spouted pouch — a convenient on-the-go feeding option for parents. While pouches require less energy to produce, use fewer raw materials and have lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to alternatives, there is currently not a scalable end-of-life solution for multi-layer films; but Happy Family says it is actively working with suppliers to develop solutions.

Preservation of natural resources

Happy Family Organics also aims to increase the demand for recycled materials — as such, it will use an average of 25 percent recycled material in all rigid plastic packaging by 2025 and ensure zero deforestation in its paper packaging. Happy Family has already accomplished the latter by using the maximum recycled paper content possible and ensuring that any additional virgin materials are sustainably sourced. The company’s Happy Baby® Clearly Crafted™ Jars are made using 30 percent recycled content, and it is working to add post-consumer recycled materials to its Happy Baby® Puffs containers to meet this commitment.

The company is also partnering with Renew Oceans to divert plastic waste from waterways and convert them into fuels, while empowering local communities in the developing world.

Consumer education

With variations in recycling programs, unclear labeling and inaccurate recyclability claims, a high percentage of recyclable items end up in landfills due to contamination. Happy Family is committing to include the SPC’s How2Recycle label on 100 percent of its primary packaging by 2025 — building on its packaging formats that already carry the label — to clearly communicate how to properly dispose of its packaging.

With these three commitments, Happy Family Organics will continue to advance the progress we've made to improve the sustainability of our packaging. From right-sizing our top-performing Happy Baby® and Happy Tot® snack packaging, to nearly doubling the amount of recycled content in our paperboard boxes, we're on a journey to provide packaging that reduces the use of virgin materials and leverage our scale as a force to drive positive change.

Poland Spring to use 100% recycled plastic by 2022

Also on Monday, Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water announced that it has started transitioning its packaging to recycled plastic (rPET), and plans to be the first major bottled water brand to reach 100 percent recycled plastic across its still water portfolio by 2022. This month, the brand's 1-liter bottles will begin being made using 100 percent rPET (labels and caps are recyclable, but not made with recycled material). In April, the brand launched a premium offering, Poland Spring® ORIGIN in 900mL bottles, which are also made entirely of recycled plastic.

"As a company, we've already put our stake in the ground when it comes to taking the 'single' out of 'single-use' plastic bottles," says Fernando Mercé, President and CEO of Nestlé Waters North America. "As we begin to transform Poland Spring, our most iconic brand, to 100 percent recycled plastic packaging, we will begin to bring this commitment to life for our consumers in a tangible way. Bottles like these, which are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and are 100 percent recyclable, are proof that a fully circular economy is within our reach."

This initiative comes just months after parent company Nestlé Waters North America announced that it will achieve 25 percent recycled plastic across its US domestic portfolio by 2021. The company plans to continue expanding its use of recycled materials in the coming years, further setting an ambition to reach 50 percent recycled plastic by 2025.

Poland Spring's current packaging, which is predominantly made using PET plastic, is already 100 percent recyclable, and the company views its push toward using more recycled materials to be the next phase in making its packaging more sustainable and addressing the issue of plastic waste. However, as US recycling rates still hover around 30 percent, Poland Spring recognizes that in order to fulfill its commitment to use recycled plastic in its packaging, it must also invest in initiatives that help plastic bottles get back in the recycling bin in the first place. That's why Poland Spring is joining the ranks of companies collaborating with Closed Loop Fund to help increase recycling infrastructure. The brand is also expanding How2Recycle labels across all of its packaging, to remind consumers to empty the bottle, replace the cap and recycle when they're done.

"To achieve a circular economy, we, as brand owners, need to inspire people to think and act differently when it comes to plastic," said David Tulauskas, VP and Chief Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters North America. "I cannot think of a more meaningful way to connect with our consumers than to bring to market a more sustainable bottle that they themselves helped to create, simply by recycling."