We’ve got no shortage of stories about the effects our addiction to plastic has had on the globe. The results have included garbage patches in the ocean, litter strewn along waterways and beaches, and even microplastics lodged within human bodies. Retailers and brands have been a huge part of this problem, and they need to stop placing blame on consumers and government and instead be a part of the solution. To that end, The Body Shop says it has a plan underway for many of its U.S. stores.
The personal care products retailer announced late last week that it would install refill stations across the U.S., with the goal to have just under half (49 percent) of its stores participating in the program by the end of this year. Meanwhile, The Body Shop says it will have such refill stations in a majority of its stores worldwide by 2026.
The company claims that refill stations in 400 stores across the globe have prevented the consumption of 3.7 tons of plastic, or about 170,000 plastic bottles, so far. Another 400 refill programs are expected to start in more of The Body Shop’s locations during 2022.
Customers of The Body Shop who are interested in checking out how the refill program works can visit the company’s website and see if a refill station, easy to find within a store as it would be marked by rows of aluminum bottles, is available at a retail location near them. Depending on the type, refills of shower gel, hand wash or haircare are priced at $8 or $9, saving consumers a few dollars if they forgo buying yet another new plastic bottle.
This shift at The Body Shop comes at a time when more brands and retailers are scurrying to be a part of the nascent circular economy. In the beauty products center, as it turns out bottles of revitalizing cream may be good for one’s complexion but not necessarily for the planet, Chanel recently peeled off (all right, kicked off) its first refillable product. Budget-minded Target shoppers can now find items such as lip balm in tins instead of plastic, or body wash sold as strips in refillable containers. The emphasis on reuse, or at least recycle instead of refuse (as in trashing the planet), is taking on other forms as well.
Colgate, for example, has rolled out toothpaste in tubes that the company says are 100 percent recyclable. Berlin-based Grover recently raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for its subscription-based consumer electronics service. And, as food waste still proves to be a stubborn problem that won’t go away largely due to an emphasis on how such products appear, there’s a good chance someone on your Facebook feed has shown off their Misfits Market stash or Imperfect Foods haul.
Image credit: The Body Shop media release
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.