How TerraCycle’s safety and cleaning practices can be adopted across industries

May 22, 2020 by  
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How TerraCycle’s safety and cleaning practices can be adopted across industries Deonna Anderson Fri, 05/22/2020 – 00:05 The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the safety of reuse into question. But Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, thinks when the crisis is over there will be even more opportunity for reusable packaging and containers to become more commonplace, if done right. “Recycling is going to take a real punch to the face, to be quite fair,” Szaky said during GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 20 Digital event this week, pointing to the continued decrease in oil prices and the pressure that’s putting on the economics of using recycled plastics. “That’s disastrous for the recycling industry, which creates its revenue by selling recycled plastics, which are hedged against, in many ways, the price of oil.” Many recycling activities have been paused as the pandemic has raised health and safety concerns, which could lead to a waste crisis post-pandemic, he said. Recycling centers have closed temporarily or indefinitely, across California and in parts of Ohio, Oregon and Alabama. “That, I think, will benefit waste innovations,” said Szaky, whose company is in the business of recycling and eliminating waste. “It will especially benefit the reuse movement because that is sort of the next step up in waste innovation.” Szaky acknowledged that reuse is not a silver bullet solution to addressing the waste problem, but if life cycle assessment is considered , he said that reuse can be better than single-use options in a significant number of cases. It plays a role in reducing waste and TerraCycle’s e-commerce program Loop  — which features items in reusable containers — plans to be part of that, while being affordable and convenient. We’re still very focused on trying to create a reusable system that has the same convenience as disposability … “We’re still very focused on trying to create a reusable system that has the same convenience as disposability because [while] disposability has a lot of negatives, it is the gold standard, by far, for convenience,” he said. “That is our holy grail, to get to the exact same convenience you get when you throw something in the garbage, with no thinking, no thought and off you go.” While Loop is still working toward the convenience factor, it’s also working toward building trust with consumers outside of its core following. As Szaky wrote in a piece for GreenBiz recently, “Reusable packaging is faced with proving its trustworthiness alongside disposables in a world that is standing six feet apart in the grocery aisle.” In the time that comes after COVID-19, TerraCycle’s Loop and other companies that are working on launching or improving their reuse models must do it right. That means consumers need to be able to know that the reusable packaging they are using was thoroughly cleaned and doesn’t pose a health risk to them. During the Circularity 20 Digital conversation, Szaky described the cleaning process for the packaging in the Loop program, between when it leaves one consumer’s possession and ends up with another. First, the customer either will drop off their Loop tote at a retailer or have it picked up and shipped. (TerraCycle recently announced that it would expand its reuse platform Loop across the contiguous United States including in physical retail stores.) Earlier this year, the company announced partnerships with Walgreens and Kroger that would allow consumers to drop off totes in bins within their stores, starting this fall.  Once the tote reaches a Loop distribution center, it is checked in and the packages inside it are sorted based on the contents and type of packaging material. Then each type of packages is stored until there are enough to start cleaning, which takes place in a proper cleanroom where people are in full gear. “The process to clean — which is what chemistry is used, dwell times both in drying and washing and temperatures, and all those different types of knobs and dials on the cleaning protocol — are set to be specific to that content and the type of material that content was in,” said Szaky, noting that both factors have meaningful effects on the cleaning process. Once the packages are cleaned, it is immediately shipped to the manufacturer, which has protocols for maintaining cleanliness for the packaging. Szaky noted that each time the cleanroom is used it is reset — pipes flushed for potential allergens and air vented — for the next batch of cleaning. Lauren Phipps, GreenBiz Group’s director and senior analyst for the circular economy, who led the conversation with Szaky, asked if there was an opportunity for retailers and restaurants to implement similar practices for their reusable items and how they could communicate their practices with consumers. Szaky responded by sharing that he’s been working with the group Consumers Beyond Disposability — which is housed under the World Economic Forum and includes the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, City of Paris and PepsiCo — to develop guidelines for companies that want to put reuse in play. The group plans to share those guidelines during the Davos gathering in January. But for now, Szaky gave an example of how safe reuse could work in a coffee shop. “I would recommend that there’s some process that when you give your cup to the barista, maybe the barista looks at the cup and only accepts certain types of cups … then has some process that is consumer-facing, that you can see and that you can be proud that that process is strong and you can trust it,” he said. “Trust is a critical commodity that we have to build with individuals right now, or in fact almost re-earn.” Pull Quote We’re still very focused on trying to create a reusable system that has the same convenience as disposability … Topics Circular Economy Circularity 20 Circular Packaging Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock warut pothikit Close Authorship

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How TerraCycle’s safety and cleaning practices can be adopted across industries

How cosmetics retailer Lush is making purposeful profit through circularity

May 12, 2020 by  
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How cosmetics retailer Lush is making purposeful profit through circularity Katrina Shum Tue, 05/12/2020 – 01:30 This article is part of our Paradigm Shift series, produced by nonprofit PYXERA Global, on the diverse solutions driving the transition to a circular economy. See the full collection of stories and upcoming webinars with the authors  here . Commerce as we know it is going through a rapid evolution. The convergence of new technology, emerging social platforms, constrained natural resources and the evolving values of each new generation is changing the way we do business — whether it’s the sharing economy, the rise of products as a service or the retail shopping experience itself. But the accelerated growth of the retail industry has come at a cost. There’s no doubt about it — we are in the midst of a plastic pollution crisis. We’ve all seen the viral images of turtles with straws stuck up their noses, or whales washed up with bellies full of plastic bags. And one of the biggest contributors to this plastic crisis is the space we operate in: the cosmetics industry. By nature, cosmetics packaging is small and intricate, made up of many parts that are difficult to clean after use, resulting in the majority of this packaging going directly into landfills. Consider that the cosmetics industry brings in a booming $500 billion every year and imagine the waste created by default. But it doesn’t have to be like this. As businesses, we can manufacture and sell products with no packaging, create closed-loop recycling systems and collaborate with suppliers to create innovative solutions for reducing waste — all while thriving. A family-owned and operated bath and beauty business, Lush began as a single storefront in Poole, England in 1995. With no money for fancy wrapping or individual molds, Lush co-founders Mark and Mo Constantine would hand-pour soap into upcycled drain pipes or lunch pails, then cut slices for customers to order. These humble beginnings ignited a continual cycle of innovation that has driven the brand forward for more than 30 years and continues today with the evolution of more “naked” products that require no packaging at all. As a vertically integrated business at Lush, we’re in a unique position to embed our values and zero-waste philosophy throughout our value chain. The global packaging industry is set to reach over $1 trillion by 2021. What if businesses invested that money into the products themselves rather than what is wrapped around them? The waste hierarchy is well known, yet we struggle as businesses to follow it — pushing blame on cost or customer convenience. How do we start with refuse, rethink and redesign in our products and packaging, before we step down the hierarchy? How can we tackle reuse and recycle in a way that is both meaningful and impactful? Designing for sustainability and zero waste can be challenging with multiple stakeholders and competing interests throughout the lifecycle of a product. Who designs the product may be different from who makes it, who sells it or how it’s used. Different business models and organizational structures can be conducive to supporting zero-waste, closed-loop goals. As a vertically integrated business at Lush, we’re in a unique position to embed our values and zero-waste philosophy throughout our value chain. We still invent our own products, manage our own supply chains, grow some of our own raw materials, own and operate our manufacturing and distribution facilities and run our own retail shops. Now in 49 countries around the world, Lush has the creativity and agility — along with a strong base of customers who share our values — to push boundaries, innovate, make mistakes, learn, evolve and bring to market packaging-free products that prove what is possible. As businesses that bring products and packaging into our customers’ homes, the private sector has a responsibility to think about how we lead the transition toward zero-waste living. Whether you work in product innovation, packaging or marketing, we each have an opportunity to change the habits and the dialogue in society around waste in our everyday living. Over recent years, we have significantly expanded our naked or packaging-free range by reformulating products to reduce their water content, resulting in solid versions of products such as shampoo, shower gels, body lotions and toothpaste. We invented our shampoo bars back in the late 1980s and in the last five years alone we have sold over 6.5 million shampoo bars in North America, saving 19.4 million plastic bottles from being produced. That’s about 535 tons of plastic avoided, or about the weight of five blue whales. With a growing range of naked products came an opportunity to evolve a new retail experience with the rollout of Naked Shops in Milan, Berlin, Hong Kong and Manchester. Naked Shops are our way to re-imagine what a store without any packaging could look like. How do you list ingredients without a label? How does the customer find directions on how to use the product? Leveraging technology, we have developed the Lush Lens App, which allows customers to use their phones to scan products and get the typical information they would find on a physical label, along with engaging and interactive content about the ingredients and stories behind them. Moving down the waste hierarchy is reduce, reuse and then recycle. When it comes to packaging, reduce and reuse can present simple cost savings. Reducing the thickness of bottles or minimizing the use of unnecessary packaging can reduce the cost of resin and materials. Promoting reuse options such as reusable containers or reusable giftwrap can generate initial revenue and help reduce packaging costs if we set up the means for them to be properly reused. When it comes to recycling, businesses can affect the larger systems level by sourcing post-consumer recycled content (PCR). Generating significant demand and putting our dollars toward PCR content rather than virgin resources provides the market signals and funds necessary to support all players in the recycling and processing of those materials. For the products that do still require packaging at Lush, we have been sourcing 100 percent PCR content for all our plastics and 100 percent recycled paper for over a decade. Our buyers have had firsthand conversations with paper mills about the real struggles of keeping the recycled content supply chain in operation; they have heard these conversations evolve over the years without adequate demand for PCR content. We have worked for over a decade to find, connect and support suppliers and processors throughout the chain who can source, grind, process and extrude packaging that meets FDA and other quality requirements. As businesses, we can all play a role in supporting a circular economy at the macro level by simply sourcing recycled content. In addition to supporting at the macro level, businesses also have an opportunity to create circular systems for their own packaging and provide customers with a direct and transparent way to ensure their packaging is being properly processed and recycled or repurposed into new items. Lush started the Black Pot program in 2008 when global recycling rates were very low. Through this program, customers can bring back five empty black pots from any of our products in exchange for a free face mask. Black pots, the packaging for some of our haircare, skincare and shower products, returned by customers are shipped back to our factories where they are consolidated and sent to be chipped, washed, pelletized and remolded into new black pots. The reverse logistics (the process by which we recapture the value of post-consumer material) for this program has not been easy. It challenged us to rethink our black pot supply chain that had been set up in Asia. Through many conversations, we developed meaningful partnerships with local processors in Vancouver and Toronto, located within hours of our factories where our products are made. By fostering these relationships, we were able to localize our supply chain and keep our black pot recycling program within North America. With limited promotion, the program currently has a 17 percent return rate, which allows each new black pot to be made with roughly 10 percent resin from old pots and the remainder from 100 percent PCR resin. In addition to customer-facing programs, businesses also have an opportunity to initiate waste reduction and circularity programs upstream with their network of suppliers. As we have been tackling zero-waste goals in our manufacturing and distribution facilities at Lush, we recognized the need to engage our suppliers in reducing the amount of unnecessary packaging materials they send into our facilities. Including packaging questions in traditional supplier surveys and focusing on reuse opportunities with local suppliers is a good place to start. Over the past few years, we have found various reduction opportunities by simply initiating conversations with suppliers and sharing our zero waste goals. We’ve eliminated the soft plastic baggies that used to cover each of our reusable metal shampoo and lotion containers, we have worked with suppliers on larger volume containers to eliminate many smaller containers, and we’ve successfully tested a few reuse programs with local suppliers. One recent win was a cardboard box reuse program with our black pot supplier. Through our annual waste audits, we noticed that cardboard was 47 to 55 percent of the discarded material being generated in two of our production rooms. Our cardboard box reuse program allows us to reuse boxes an average of five times, saving roughly 9,000 kilograms of cardboard annually with the potential for 17,000-plus kilograms more. While reducing cardboard may not look good in the way companies typically calculate and communicate waste diversion percentages, reducing the overall discarded materials is the right thing to do and has encouraged us to rethink how we measure and value true waste reduction and reuse efforts. At Lush, we look to nature for inspiration. Similar to keystone species within larger ecosystems, we see the opportunity to be a catalyst for change and have a disproportionately positive impact on our industry to transform bathroom habits and routines around the world. Whether it’s working with our network of suppliers or bringing packaging-free products to market, as businesses we can all have a positive ripple effect in all that we do — in the decisions we make, the ingredients we put into our products, the people we do business with and the voices and values we amplify. In truth, it’s not the easy way. But if all of us use our business influence for good to raise awareness about waste issues, challenge industry working groups and support advancement of government policies, then we collectively can have a much greater positive impact on creating a cleaner, more sustainable world. T o learn more from the leaders of the circular economy transition, visit  PYXERA Global . Pull Quote As a vertically integrated business at Lush, we’re in a unique position to embed our values and zero-waste philosophy throughout our value chain. Topics Circular Economy Design & Packaging Supply Chain Paradigm Shift Cosmetics Circular Packaging Supplier Engagement Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Lush Close Authorship

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How cosmetics retailer Lush is making purposeful profit through circularity

A Circular Packaging Economy

April 14, 2020 by  
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The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected every sector of the … The post A Circular Packaging Economy appeared first on Earth911.com.

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A Circular Packaging Economy

Fungi-inspired companies could play a new role in sustainability

April 8, 2020 by  
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From packaging to ecosystem rehabilitation, mycelium — the root structure of mushrooms — has a lot to offer.

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Fungi-inspired companies could play a new role in sustainability

These are the climate risks the finance sector should be planning for

April 8, 2020 by  
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COVID-19 is a dry run for climate catastrophes.

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These are the climate risks the finance sector should be planning for

Not just biofuels: Algae’s next wave

March 30, 2020 by  
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Applications in packaging and other products are beginning to gain momentum.

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Not just biofuels: Algae’s next wave

GreenBiz analysts take stock of the clean economy

March 30, 2020 by  
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How, and how much, is the coronavirus pandemic impacting the clean economy? Our analysts share what they’re seeing.

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GreenBiz analysts take stock of the clean economy

Asia’s central banks must rise to the challenge of climate change

March 30, 2020 by  
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Most central banks in Asia already believe they should help to promote green bonds and other low-carbon initiatives.

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Asia’s central banks must rise to the challenge of climate change

COP26: Postpone, virtual or as you were?

March 30, 2020 by  
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This year’s U.N. climate convention and a planned summit of its sister treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), are more important than usual. So far, neither has been postponed.

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COP26: Postpone, virtual or as you were?

Avery Dennison’s Deon Stander on the future and benefits of enabling traceability

March 3, 2020 by  
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Avery Dennison started off at the world’s first self-adhesive label 80 years ago. While it has continued to provide analog labeling solutions, the company has also transformed into provide digital solutions. “We’re thinking about solutions and ideas that will allow us to enable a digital future for all companies and supply chains as well,” says Deon Stander, vice president and general manager of retail branding and information solutions at Avery Dennison. Stander continued to explain that in the future, every item will have a digital identity.

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Avery Dennison’s Deon Stander on the future and benefits of enabling traceability

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