M&S Launches Beauty Takeback Scheme

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KnowESG_M&S beauty takeback scheme
Image courtesy of M&S

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has joined forces with HANDLE, a specialist in beauty recycling, to introduce a revolutionary Beauty Takeback Scheme across more than 40 stores in the UK.

This initiative allows for the recycling of beauty packaging materials that are typically difficult to process and often end up in landfills. The scheme aims to transform these materials into new packaging and products.

The beauty industry faces significant sustainability challenges, with a staggering 120 billion units of packaging produced globally each year. However, recycling rates for beauty packaging in the UK vary from 9% to 50%, primarily due to certain packaging types not being compatible with mainstream recycling infrastructure.

HANDLE collaborates with retailers, brands, and manufacturers to address these gaps and explore better end-of-life options for beauty packaging components like lids, tubes, pumps, sachets, and pipettes that often fall outside of standard municipal recycling systems.

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Starting this month, M&S customers can conveniently return any plastic or aluminium beauty packaging—ranging from bottles and tubes to caps, pumps, and tubs—from any retailer. Dedicated collection boxes have been placed within the beauty sections of participating stores.

The scheme is projected to gather over two tonnes of empty beauty packaging within the first year. The HANDLE programme is designed to transition from a takeback and recycling system to a circular model where new products and packaging are created using the collected materials.

To mark the scheme's launch, Sparks customers who recycle their beauty packaging will receive a 10% discount on Beauty products at M&S until July 5th. Customers can simply scan the QR code on the Beauty Takeback box in-store to add the offer to their Sparks' Hub.

Carmel McQuaid, Head of ESG at M&S, expressed enthusiasm about providing customers with simple solutions to lead more environmentally friendly lives. Plastic waste is a major issue in the beauty industry, and while there is still much work to be done, M&S hopes that this scheme will encourage customers to recycle their beauty empties, giving them a second life and reducing the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills. The Beauty Takeback Scheme is one of several initiatives, including Shwopping and plastic takeback, that contribute to M&S's roadmap to achieve net-zero emissions.

Tom Murgatroyd, Co-Founder of Handle Recycling, expressed delight about the partnership with M&S, emphasising their shared mission to reduce the environmental impact of beauty packaging. This collaboration aims to raise awareness and take substantial action toward this mission.

HANDLE seeks partners who are willing to tackle complex issues and have dedicated teams to support the goals they set out. Their objective aligns with M&S's Plan A initiative, focusing on promoting reuse and circularity, which are essential yet challenging goals for the sake of the planet and future generations.

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Source: M&S

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