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L'Occitane is offering a new perk for customers who want to recycle their old beauty products

This is one example of beauty brands taking greater responsibility for the waste generated by their industry. 

Young woman refilling shower gel

L'Occitane is relieving the beauty industry of recycler's guilt by starting a collaborative program with TerraCycle.

Beauty is pain (for the planet)

The beauty and wellness industries are wasteful, known for using short-lived, disposable plastic packaging that is borderline impossible to recycle outside of specialized facilities.

The global beauty industry had an astronomical value of $662 billion in 2020 alone. In 2018, the global cosmetic industry produced more than 140 billion packaging units. 

With an industry of its size, we can't help but wonder how it affects our planet. 

So what happens when you spray the last of a perfume, hit the pan on an eyeshadow palette, or use the last drop of a skin serum?

Many beauty product packages are designed to be used only once. This makes it difficult to refill or even reuse the packaging — think about how difficult it would be to reuse an empty bottle of foundation.

With few resources to recycle beauty products, this packaging gets thrown away, destined for a landfill, or fated to pollute the ocean, where billions of packages each year end up. Once at its final resting place, beauty product packaging releases harmful gas pollutants into the air. This waste of packaging also means a waste of precious resources.

Right now, the responsibility for making the beauty industry better for the planet wrongly falls on the consumer rather than the companies responsible for creating this waste issue.

But L'Occitane en Provence is looking to change the Earth-damaging trajectory of the beauty industry by taking the onus of reusing and recycling its product packaging.

L'Occitane partners with TerraCycle

The French beauty brand has partnered with recycling pioneer TerraCycle to provide customers with the opportunity to recycle their L'Occitane products and packages in-store. This recycling program turns packaging waste into new products, successfully avoiding the overfilling of landfills and the polluting of our oceans.

Recycling for a discount

On its site, L'Occitane lists the beauty, skincare, and hair care packaging accepted by its recycling program. 

Examples include lip balm tubes, deodorant sticks, perfume pumps, face mask packaging, hair care dispensers, and more.

By turning in items in-store, you can receive 10% off your purchase the same day.

Not the first time

This partnership is not the first instance of responsible waste management from the luxury beauty brand.

In 1976, L'Occitane began a return service for its glass bottle packages, followed by a plastic bottle return service in 1992 and the development of a few 100% recyclable and refillable products.

Similar programs

This partnership between L'Occitane and TerraCycle is one example of beauty brands taking greater responsibility for the waste generated by their industry. 

This year, beauty and personal care giant Sephora announced a partnership with Pact Collective to reuse and recycle product packaging and divert waste from landfills.

There is a conspicuous change happening in the beauty and wellness industry. Although L'Occitane and Sephora are just two figures in the industry, the positive reactions by consumers to these take-back and recycling programs will hopefully pressure other companies in the industry to make positive changes, too.

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