Many of us may remember learning about the “Three Rs” of the environment — reduce, reuse, and recycle.
But one thing we may not have gone over in elementary school was that those “Rs” are ordered from most eco-friendly to least. Reducing waste is the option that conserves the most resources, followed by reusing, and finally, recycling, which, despite its flaws, is often the most common of the three.
The Body Shop understands this order of importance, which is why the beauty store is making reusing incredibly easy — and affordable — for customers.
The Body Shop’s Refill Program
In 2021, The Body Shop announced its commitment to adding refill stations to most stores within the next half-decade. In the same year, the company fitted 400 of its stores globally with refill stations.
By refilling their soaps, shampoos, and more, customers can get massive discounts.
For example, a typical 250-milliliter shower gel at The Body Shop costs $20.00. But a refillable, 300-milliliter bottle filled with shower gel costs $15.00. So you get 50 milliliters more for $5 less.
The Body Shop expects 49% of its U.S. stores to have refill stations by the end of 2022, including locations in cities like Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, and Orlando.
In a press release announcing the program, Hilary Lloyd, The Body Shop’s Vice President of Marketing and Values for North America, said, “We’re thrilled to be embracing a circular economy approach and provide this sustainable alternative.”
The Body Shop’s refill program holds the company accountable for the waste its products create rather than pushing this responsibility onto consumers.
@thatcurlytopp I love seeing refilling become more accessible w/ @The Body Shop North America ✨♻️💓 #ad #RefillReuseRepeat #lowwaste #zerowaste #sustainableliving ♬ original sound – thatcurlytop
The sturdiness of the packaging — plus the ability for consumers to buy refills directly from The Body Shop — allows for the aluminum bottles to continue circulating. And if consumers ever need to discard their bottles, the aluminum will still live on, as the material is practically infinitely recyclable.
Plastic packaging, on the other hand, is difficult to recycle and will likely only be recycled only once.
Why refill programs matter
The beauty and personal care industry in the U.S. produced 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic in 2018, contributing largely to our global plastic waste issue.
By reusing containers, refill programs allow companies to curb this waste. Purchasing refillable products allows us, as consumers, to use the power of our dollar to help.
The Body Shop has estimated that its refill program in 800 stores could save over 25 metric tonnes (over 55,000 pounds) of plastic in a year.
How to participate
First, find your nearest Body Shop refill station using the company’s store locator.
Once there, purchase a refillable aluminum bottle, and ask a team member to fill it with whichever refill product you’d like. You can fill up on some of the best-selling ranges of haircare, body wash, and hand wash products, conserving resources and avoiding pollution each time you refill.
And buying any refill product as a member of The Body Shop’s reward program will earn you double the number of points compared to a regular purchase. You can then use those points to save money on future refill purchases.
Follow The Cool Down on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.