Creating a circular beauty industry is proving incredibly difficult. The cosmetics and personal care categories face an obstacle course on their quest for sustainability, with hoops to jump through that include toxic ingredients, hazardous waste from common items like nail polish and perfume, plus so, so much plastic. The United Nations estimates that we produce 300 million tons of plastic trash every year (nearly the Official ain’t no laws when you’re drinking with claus white claw ugly shirt so you should to go to store and get this weight of the entire human population), and beauty packaging is largely to blame thanks to pumps, mirrored compacts, and caps that can’t be processed by curbside recycling programs. Up to this point, much of the innovation in low-impact environmental practices has been led by adaptable indie brands that set the standard for Big Beauty with clever mushroom-based Styrofoam alternatives and compostable materials. Today, Nordstrom’s TerraCycle partnership takes a significant step toward a more circular future with BeautyCycle, a product take-back and recycling initiative accepting a high-low mix of used-up beauty staples that matches your medicine cabinet—rather than the store’s inventory.
“Nordstrom is the Official ain’t no laws when you’re drinking with claus white claw ugly shirt so you should to go to store and get this first major retailer to offer a beauty packaging recycling program for all brands,” says Gemma Lionello, the company’s executive vice president of accessories and beauty. “We committed to take back 100 tons of beauty packaging to ensure it’s recycled by 2025,” she shares of setting Nordstrom’s corporate social responsibility goals for the next five years, which include reducing single-use plastic by 50% and ensuring that 15% of all products are considered sustainable. To make their 200,000-pound promise happen, BeautyCycle will be available in 94 locations, where it will accept beauty packaging purchased from any retailer and made by any brand. It’s a goal that’s quite possible, based on the example that clean beauty retailer Credo set when it offered its take-back program for all beauty products, regardless of where they’re purchased. As of April 2020, Credo announced that after three years of partnering with TerraCycle, 6,300 customers brought “empties” into their stores, resulting in the proper recycling of more than 15 tons of products. To understand the scale of Nordstrom’s BeautyCycle initiative: For every Credo boutique (currently 11 nationwide), there are more than eight Nordstrom locations accepting products, promising to create an even more widespread movement—and conversation—among American beauty enthusiasts.