The Body Shop is bringing back its recycling scheme

Posted by
Christobel Hastings
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Their fruity body butters and musky body mists are the stuff of teenage memories. Now, The Body Shop is serving another nostalgia trip by reinventing its in-store recycling scheme. Scrub up…

Forty years ago, a small beauty company was born in Brighton. The core range only consisted of 25 products, but the principles were strong: natural ingredients, ethical origins, and no animal testing. It’s founder, Anita Roddick, was especially keen on encouraging customers to recycle their packaging; partly because there weren’t enough bottles to go around in the beginning, and partly because her fledgling business was rooted in sustainability

It was, of course, The Body Shop.

Fast forward to 2019, and the pioneering eco-friendly brand that wooed us with fruity body butters and body mists during our teenage years is putting the environment at the centre of conversation once again with a new recycling scheme aimed at tackling plastic pollution.

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Starting today, the high street hero is joining forces with Plastics for Change to launch a new recycling initiative, ‘Return. Recycle. Repeat’, which gives customers the opportunity to return their empty bottles, jars, tubs, tubes and pots in an effort to save the planet.

If you can bring in five, clean items to selected in-store recycling facilities, you’ll receive a £5 voucher off your next purchase, which sounds like solid beauty sense to us. You can also bring in other branded beauty products too, though you won’t be entitled to the same rewards.

Once you’ve traded in your empties, The Body Shop’s recycling partner Terracycle steps in. Some of the waste is recycled, and other raw materials are repurposed into new items like watering cans, park benches, and children’s playgrounds.

Better yet, the initiative is part of a wider resolution to highlight the lesser-known, human side of the plastic crisis: waste pickers. Though they form a critical line of defence between plastic pollution and our natural world, waste pickers are some of the world’s most marginalised people, who often live below the poverty line, work in appalling conditions and are shunned by society.

So how does the scheme help? By purchasing Community Trade recycled plastic collected by small waste picker communities, The Body Shop ensures they receive a fair price for their work, a predictable income, and access to better working conditions. At the other end of the equation, you can support the waste pickers by picking up 250ml haircare bottles while you browse in store. 

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Interestingly, The Body Shop’s new scheme isn’t simply a case of following the environmental zeitgeist. Back in 1992, the brand developed a recycle-and-refill initiative that allowed customers to bring their old empties into the shop to top up on their favourite products, so the scheme is tinged with more than a touch of nostalgia, much like our teenage memories of Saturday shopping trips in town.

You can check out the full list of participating stores here

Image: Body Shop