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Can a Beauty Company Help the Planet?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday August 22nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

Aveda%20Cosmetics.JPGAveda, the beauty company owned by Estee Lauder, recently launched a bottle cap recycling program after a survey it conducted revealed that most caps end up in landfills. The company asks salons and stores that sell its products to partner with them by saving caps, and in turn it uses the caps to make new ones.
“Aveda’s Caps Recycling Program was created to help combat the devastating effects of plastic cap pollution – and to increase awareness around this critical issue,” said Chuck Bennett, vice president, Earth and Community Care, Aveda. “Recycling caps is a meaningful form of environmental activism. Every cap we prevent from becoming trash is one less piece of plastic in the mouth of a baby seal, penguin or turtle.”


“Our goal is to inspire long-term change in how the beauty industry approaches package design,” said Aveda president, Dominique Conseil. “Aveda’s Caps Recycling Program is a first step in that direction – and helps set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility.”
Aveda’s magazine advertisement campaign
Four years ago Aveda required the magazines it advertises in to use at least 10 percent recycled paper. Natural Health was the first to switch. The magazine, which had been using only virgin paper, started using recycled paper. “They did the research, and in a matter of 4-5 months came back to us and let us know they were switching to a paper with 40% recycled content,” said Rachael Ostrom, Aveda media director.
“We were thinking that by putting the strategy in place that we would have to leave some magazines for a number of years before making the change…But we were able to work with magazines much earlier than we expected,” Ostrom said.
Frank Locantore who runs Co-Op America’s WoodWise program said, “Overall, more magazines are beginning to look into this issue more closely. Small and mid-size publishers are really leading the way and there is a growing swell that I think will become a tipping point in about one or two years, when two to four big magazine make the switch.”
FCradle to Cradle certification
Aveda is the first company to achieve Cradle to Cradle certification, run by the MBDC Design Firm, for four of its botanical ingredients: sandalwood oil, rose oil, lavender oil, and uruku. The Environmental Protection and Encourage Agency (EPEA) evaluated the ingredients for three years.
“The Cradle to Cradle concept supports the Aveda mission of environmental and social responsibility,” said Conseil. “Our goal is to reduce the need for and use of ingredients that persist unnaturally in the environment and help to replace synthetic ingredients with plant-based alternatives. Cradle to Cradle certification of four of Aveda’s most prominently used botanical ingredients is an important first step towards our end goal of achieving C2C certification of all Aveda final product and packaging. And, the important social responsibility aspect of the C2C certification is fully consistent with the way Aveda conducts business around the world.”
“The trans-Atlantic partnership EPEA has enjoyed with Aveda for several years combines European thoroughness and American creativity in a mutually beneficial way,” said Professor Dr. Michael Braungart, CEO of EPEA.
“Aveda has been at the forefront of the environmental movement within the beauty industry since 1978, and they continue to innovate by becoming the first beauty company to fully embrace Cradle to Cradle design. Published in 2006, Aveda’s Green Ingredients Policy for naturally derived raw materials was the first public commitment to Cradle to Cradle design activities,” added Braungart.


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  • Ully Sakes

    Anyone who says they’re “Helping the planet” by recycling bottle caps has little to no idea what they’re talking about. What does “help the planet mean, anyway?” First of all, the “planet” will be fine, it’s humanity that’s at risk.
    Second of all, if they really gave a damn, they wouldn’t use plastic caps to begin with – they would manufacture them out of something else to begin with, not to mention the rest of the bottle.
    I guarantee they use more oil and fossil fuels transporting these caps to the recycling place than they used creating them.
    I’m still glad that they’re thinking about this stuff, and the talk about cradle to cradle shows they’re on the right track. But god, “help the planet?” Give me a break!

  • Clara

    Ully, I have to disagree with you on this. First of all, we are 100 times more aware of what these plastics and everything do to our planet than we were some years ago. People have become more sensitive to it since the gas crisis. And anyway, if we don’t “help the planet” as you so criticize the wording, then we aren’t helping ourselves or “humanity.”
    By the way, if you aren’t familiar with Aveda, the founder of the company created his products to contain less toxins so beauty products wouldn’t make him sick! I think Aveda is one of the first companies to create organic and natural beauty products. MANY companies have a long way to go to be absolutely “green” and that would mean making containers AND everyday use products that are biodegradable, and which have a shorter useful life than “lasting forever.”