Sephora, the largest prestige beauty omni-retailer in the U.S. and Canada, is working to lead industry-wide collaboration and change to support product circularity in partnership with Pact Collective, a nonprofit collective on a mission to reduce beauty and wellness packaging waste. Today, the retailer announced the roll out of Beauty (Re)Purposed – Sephora’s first North American empties collection program, hitting more than 600 stores across the U.S. and Canada in May 2023. The purpose of this program is to make the process of reducing hard-to-recycle material waste more approachable and accessible for consumers. Currently, the majority of the beauty and wellness industry’s hard-to-recycle packaging ends up in landfills because it is either too small, too flexible, or made of too many materials to be traditionally recycled and the rules for recycling regionally differ or are complex.
“The launch of the Beauty (Re)Purposed program is an exciting step forward in Sephora’s commitment to leading the industry and offering more sustainable solutions for the communities we serve. And the reality is that discarding beauty packaging can be complex for many consumers.” said Desta Raines, Director of Sustainability at Sephora. “It was important for Sephora to find a partner like Pact who shares our values and, in collaboration, can help to educate our clients and the broader industry in making the process more accessible for all.”
Today, almost 80 percent of all plastic ends up in landfills or as pollution, and 8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every single year. Together, the beauty and wellness industries generate 120 billion packages every year, most of which aren’t accepted in curbside recycling programs.
“We are thrilled to announce the partnership between Sephora and Pact Collective, and to see Beauty (Re)Purposed collection bins in all Sephora doors. Partnering with a major player like Sephora is a critical step in scaling our collection program and making it more widely available to beauty shoppers. Together, we’re excited to take responsibility for beauty’s packaging problem and encourage more sustainable packaging decisions to drive industry-wide change,” said Carly Snider, Pact Program Director.
This new program that will engage consumers is an exciting next step as part of Sephora’s longstanding commitment to its people and the planet. For more than a decade, Sephora has partnered with g2 revolution, a specialty recycling solutions company, to divert 23.7 million pounds of returned, damaged or expired cosmetic product waste from landfills. g2 will now provide support to Beauty (Re)Repurposed with Pact. With a sustainability-centric consumer base, the retailer is looking forward to working with the communities it serves to make an even bigger impact in diverting waste.
To help reduce the amount of packaging ending up in landfills and oceans, Beauty (Re)Purposed allows consumers to drop-off their empty beauty packaging at any Sephora retail store, no matter the brand, and give their beauty products a second life. Once enough volume has been collected, Pact will sell the collected materials to a partner where they’ll be turned into something else – like carpet, pallets, asphalt, new packaging, or energy.**
Beauty (Re)Purposed aims to simplify the process and provide consumers with clear directions on how they can help divert beauty packaging from landfills. Here’s how it works:
- Clean it out: At home, make sure the packaging is clean, unbagged, and free of liquid or product.
- Drop it off: Visit any U.S. or Canadian Sephora store* and drop your empties that meet Pact’s collection guidelines in the dedicated collection bin. To find a participating location, please visit www.pactcollective.org/locations.
- Close the loop: All done! Instead of being thrown away, the beauty empties could become something else.
While the broader recycling system is complex and the beauty industry presents a unique set of challenges, Sephora believes this is the best solution for current packaging waste and will continue to learn and adapt as the program is scaled. Sephora’s partnership with Pact represents another critical piece in driving change – designing packaging for end-of-life realities from the start. Bringing awareness to beauty’s packaging problem will help the industry create smarter packaging in the future while empowering consumers to dispose of their empties properly. Beauty (Re)Purposed will be an ongoing initiative for Sephora and the hope is that all beauty consumers will now consider leveraging Sephora as a destination for their empties and partner for good.
For more information, please contact:
Su Patel, DeVries Global
*Sephora at Kohl’s is not a part of the Beauty (Re)Purposed program
**Depending on volumes and contamination of empties collected for each eligible material