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Reducing plastic waste, one bottle at a time

Reducing plastic waste, one bottle at a time

Why premium beauty doesn't have to mean plastic pollution and how we're tackling Zero Waste by 2021.

There’s no escaping plastic pollution - especially since it’s pretty much indestructible. Yep, every piece of plastic is still somewhere on our planet today. And according to Plastic Oceans, 50% of all plastic created is single-use, with an average use-time of 12 minutes. Unfortunately, the skincare industry is a major culprit in adding to plastic waste. But, here a REN Clean Skincare we're trying to reduce the impact we have by giving plastic a longer (or multiplied) lifespan on our journey to Zero Waste by 2021.

Reducing plastic waste, one bottle at a time

First of all - why use plastic at all?

Premium beauty is as much about the packaging as it is about the formula. Weighty glass jars, metallic inks, and heavy feeling lids. Beautiful - but not always the most sustainable. Using glass does help reduce the issue of single-use plastic, but it’s traditionally heavier and creates a higher carbon footprint during transport. 

Some products, like body and facial oils, should be packaged in glass to preserve the integrity of the formula. We’ve worked hard to be more strategic with our packaging, assessing each product on an individual basis. When we use glass, we make sure both the bottle and cap are 100% recyclable. And, when we use plastic, we’re always pushing the boundaries to make sure it’s as recyclable as it can be. 

Reducing plastic waste, one bottle at a time

The Ocean Plastic Partnership. 

In 2018, with TerraCycle, we created our body wash bottle containing 20% reclaimed plastic waste from the ocean. People (and our planet) loved it, so we'll be launching our award-winning body cream soon, in the same reclaimed packaging. With more than 8 million tons of plastic dumped in our oceans annually, we’re excited that we can take steps to give this plastic a second life. The rest of the bottle is made from 80% recycled plastic, creating a cycle that helps keep this waste out of landfills. Look out for the grey bottles - they’re a sign of sustainability and working toward a future where our oceans are plastic-free. 

Why only 20% ocean plastic?

We’ve been clean to skin since 2000, and we’re not about to let that slip. We do rigorous package testing on our innovations, to make sure they’re safe to house our formulas. One challenge that arises in using reclaimed ocean plastic is ensuring that none of the plastic elements or particles migrate into the formula. Since reclaimed ocean plastic isn’t as strong as recycled or virgin plastics- as you’d expect from plastic that’s been traveling the high seas - we’ve had to keep the percentage to 20%. This allows us to protect our formula while still protecting the planet. 

Reducing plastic waste, one bottle at a time

Designing for recyclability. 

Not so fun fact: recycling plants oftentimes don’t recycle tubes made from multiple different types of plastic. It's because they pollute the recycling stream, so even our best efforts at the recycling bin can be in vain. Our solution? With our latest innovation, Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30, we’ve used mono (one-type) plastic only and included 50% recycled plastic, making use of plastic that’s already in circulation.

Since recycled plastic isn’t as strong as virgin plastic, we can only use 50% of it in our tube to maintain the viability of the package. But, the cap is made from 100% recycled mono-material plastic and can be recycled widely.  For our efforts in designing with a Clean to Planet ethos in mind, SUEZ - the world leader in sustainable resource management - awarded us the first Circpack Certification for designing our packaging with circularity in mind - so with your help, it can be recycled time and time again.