Our Zero Waste Journey So Far
How we achieved our Zero Waste Pledge and how our Zero Waste commitment continues.
We made our Zero Waste Pledge back in 2018 to only produce packaging designed to be recyclable, containing recycled materials or being reusable by the end of 2021. In January 2022 we proudly announced that we achieved that pledge through innovation and our commitment to improving processes to reduce energy and material waste. Change never comes without its costs, but when the ultimate price to pay is the planet, every single expense is worth it. And we’re not stopping there.
To date, our Zero Waste Pledge has seen 45 tons of waste recycled from landfill, 16 tons of waste saved from landfill, 4.5 million single-use sachets spared from landfill or incineration thanks to an innovative world-first aluminium sample tube, and more. Here’s how we did it…
We developed Ocean Plastic packaging
The first step on our Zero Waste Journey was a partnership with TerraCycle to create an industry-first bottle made from 80% recycled plastic, and 20% reclaimed Ocean Plastic for use in our ocean-inspired Atlantic Kelp range.
In doing so, we’ve utilised over 1.5 tons of plastic debris to date that has been removed from ocean sources and given it a new life as our Atlantic Kelp bottles. This waste plastic is sorted, shredded, washed, and blended creating a pelletised format that is then turned into Ocean Plastic. As Ocean Plastic is more fragile, it is further blended with other more stable forms of recycled plastic to make sure that our packs are strong enough to support the formulas inside.
We stopped single-use sample sachets
We decided that enough was enough and said a resounding “no more” to the use of single-use foil sample sachets, and we’ve never looked back. To date, this decision has prevented an estimated 4.5 million of them from entering landfill or incineration.
We partnered with the Surfrider Foundation
We are a proud partner of the Surfrider Foundation, supporting beach cleanups and the lasting protection of our ocean, waves, and beaches. Surfrider are a community dedicated to protecting our planet’s waterways and beaches for everyone to enjoy.
In 2021 alone, working alongside the Surfrider Foundation, we removed 400KG of litter collected from beaches and oceans through organised events like beach clean-ups. Through alliances like this, our united call for change can be heard louder, which makes our sustainable steps forward larger.
We created our first PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) plastic pack
We first utilised Post Consumer Recycled (otherwise known as PCR) plastic in our packs. Simply put, PCR materials are obtained by recycling packaging that was used by consumers and placed in the recycling bin. This means we include PCR plastic in our new packaging that will also be used by consumers, hence promoting a circular economy to help keep using the same materials and reduce packaging waste.
We started with our bestselling products to have the greatest impact. Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic is made from 100% PCR plastic and is 100% recyclable, saving 9.5 tons of plastic from landfill and incineration in 2021 alone. To date, the use of PCR plastic in our packs has seen 45 tons of plastic repurposed from landfill and given a new life in our packs.
We pioneered Infinity Recycling Technology
In 2020 we partnered with SABIC and Aptar to pioneer the use of a new kind of certified recycled plastic in REN packs – launching with our most iconic moisturiser, Evercalm™ Global Protection Day Cream. SABIC is a global leader in ground-breaking advanced technologies to facilitate circular reuse of plastic materials, and Aptar is a global leader in packaging supplies re-imagining packaging solutions to improve everyday life for people everywhere.
This innovative industry-first recycling technology supports a circular economy for plastics, allowing us to reduce the need to make new virgin plastic from fossil feedstock (e.g., petroleum). The and the possibility of indefinite plastic recycling without losing its quality and physical properties helps to keep plastic in the loop and out of landfill. This is why we call it Infinity Recycling, and so far this technology has repurposed 16 tons of plastic destined for landfill into our packaging and saved 3 tons in 2021 with just one product, Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream.
We partnered with the refillable Loop programme
We became the first premium beauty partner for Loop – the refillable doorstep solution for household and personal care products, cutting environmental impact by 50% vs disposable bottles. Announced at the World Economic Forum, the Loop initiative will challenge worldwide reliance on single-use plastic, boosting the circular economy for brands and their customers, with a real and measurable environmental impact.
We formed our WeAreAllies campaign
We formed a ground-breaking industry-first initiative to unite with our competitors, Biossance, Caudalie, Herbivore and YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE for a common cause. This unique alliance spearheaded fresh solutions to tackle packaging waste within the beauty industry, with a collective commitment to produce only planet-friendly packaging by 2025. We recognise that we are stronger together. In the fight to protect our planet, we’re not competitors, WeAreAllies.
We launched Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream
We launched our award-winning Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream using certified recycled plastic from Infinity Recycling technology and repurposed approximately 3 tons of plastic waste in 2021 with just one product.
We trailblazed with a world-first eco-smart sample
We pioneered an industry and world-first 100% recycled, recyclable and re-closable aluminium sample tube and launched it with Evercalm™ Redness Relief Serum. This innovative new way of storing and sending samples saved a potential 900KG of plastic in 2021, and through our WeAreAllies alliance with our competitors, we readily shared this technology for others to utilise. We are currently rolling out aluminium sample tubes for all our samples, so this number will only get bigger.
We’ve introduced 20% PCR glass jars for our masks
This year we upgraded the packaging of Evercalm™ Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask and Clearcalm Invisible Pores Detox Mask with a new 20% PCR glass jar in partnership with Verescence, and a new widely recyclable aluminium lid containing an invisible thread, in partnership with Anomatic.
Glass is one of the most circular materials on earth, because it can be recycled endlessly without ever reducing its quality, and aluminium is infinitely recyclable, with an estimated 75% of the aluminium that has ever been produced still in circulation today.
The next steps in our journey see a renewal of our commitment by taking action to reduce waste at every stage of the production, distribution and promotion of our skincare. From the expansion of our Zero Waste Pledge compliant sample and travel sized offering, to Boox reusable boxes for all orders placed through our own direct to consumer channels, to sustainable solutions behind the scenes with a focus on logistics and distribution, including launching TerraCycle recycling so that you can recycle your REN packs whenever and wherever you like and help keep our empties out of landfill for good; and a deeper investment in planet-positive partnerships – we make every step count.
We believe that skincare should work for everyone, including the planet, and take action to preserve its natural resources for future generations – because great skin should never cost the earth.