What is the Zero Waste Movement?
Everybody is familiar with the word “waste” in our daily lives, it could be defined as an unnecessary or excessive use of resources or materials (i.e. food, energy, even time!).
The “Zero Waste” movement is therefore an ambition for the responsible use of resources and materials, with the aim of eliminating waste. This means better utilising and reusing available resources and materials to help preserve them for future generations.
We’ll admit, fully achieving this looks like an impossible task, but we believe it is important to set ourselves ambitious objectives to contribute to meaningful and positive change. It can be seen as a daunting task, not only for businesses, but also individuals and local communities, especially when there are so many different aspects to be considered. Because of this, we want to encourage everyone not to be overwhelmed with the difficulties and start with something, even in small ways. Every step counts!
We at REN have started our commitment to this cause with our packaging Zero Waste pledge.*
So, let’s talk about it. We hope that we can work together in this journey
What is REN’s packaging Zero Waste pledge*?
In 2018 we started our zero waste skincare journey committing to use only packaging designed to be recyclable, containing recycled plastic or being reusable by the end of 2021. Our priority is to continuously reduce packaging waste and support circular models, promoting recycling, reusing, reducing or recovering packaging waste. Start your Zero Waste Journey with us today.
The Environmental Benefits of Zero Waste Initiatives
Reducing our impact on the planet is no easy task, but taking steps to prioritize zero waste strategies can move the needle and help ensure a better earth for future generations.
Preserves Natural Resources
Natural resources, such as plants, water, or even the sun and the wind, are used for the creation, production, transportation, and disposal of every product.
There are renewable natural resources like plants, that we can keep growing to feed ourselves, or the wind that we can keep using to produce energy. There are also non-renewable resources like minerals, that could be a limited resource and used up at some point in the future.
For both renewable and non-renewable resources it is important to apply a zero waste philosophy to minimise waste and reuse/recycle to foster a circular economy. This is especially important as the population continues to grow and resource needs expand.
A way to promote a more sustainable circular economy is to use products made from recycled materials. This allows the same materials to be used and reborn into new products instead of requiring all new materials. This also decreases the demand for the natural resources needed to make these materials and pave a better way for the future.
Keeps Oceans Clean
Unfortunately, so much of our waste ends up in the ocean. This is a problem because waste pollutes the ocean and harms wildlife.
This is why it is very important to recycle packaging materials like plastic. A strong recycling philosophy is also key to avoid mismanagement of plastic, like throwing it away in nature or on the streets, as it will pollute the environment and likely end up in rivers and in the ocean. Plastic could break down in tiny pieces that can threaten marine life and the vitality of the marine ecosystem.
Because plastic pollution is already in our oceans it is important to also take steps to clean it up. This is why some REN products use recycled plastic that has been made from plastic debris harvested from the ocean and along waterways. Besides this, REN has also partnered with Surfrider Foundation, dedicated to the protection of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches, to promote awareness and to work together in beach clean up activities. Please click here to learn more.
If we come together, we can all make a difference to help preserve marine life and the oceans for future generations to enjoy.
The first steps to start your Zero Waste Journey
The environmental benefits of reducing waste are undeniable, but it can feel intimidating to know where to start. Always know, though, there’s no shame in starting small, and every little bit does help. Here are some ideas to help you start today.
1. Think Before You Buy
A way to reduce our individual waste is to be conscious about what we buy. Before purchasing something ask yourself if you really need it. You could already have an impact on waste by simply enacting this practice. For instance when it comes to food, try to plan what you are going to eat instead of buying too much and end up having to throw it in the garbage.
2. Reuse & Recycle
Its is estimated that almost 70% plastic containers and packaging waste ended up in US landfill in 2017**. We believe reusing and recycling is critical to help reduce this high percentage of waste.
Because of this we need to create a more circular economy where we can keep products and materials in use, promoting recycling models to reduce materials waste. If you want to find more please visit the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website.
** EPA US 2017 data: www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/containers-and-packaging-product-specific-data
Try to avoid purchasing products that have excess packaging or that you are only going to use one time, such as disposable cutlery. Opt for reusable grocery bags and reduce the use of disposable plastic bags. There are many convenient foldable reusable bags to choose from that take almost no space and are easy to stash in your backpack or purse, so you don’t need to remember one everytime you leave the house.
Another way to reduce your impact is by refusing ”free items” if you are not going to use them, such as excess individually packaged sauces and condiments that linger in your drawer or on your counter until you remember to throw them out.
4. Share the word
Another easy, yet important, way you can help support the reduction of waste is by informing others. If someone asks you about “zero waste” , share what you know and how you’ve implemented practices in your own life.
We promise to do our part as well. By the end of this year (2021) we’ll meet our Zero Waste pledge with packaging designed to be recyclable, containing recycled materials or being reusable, because we know that it’s only by taking action that we can make a positive change for our planet.
This means that we will be producing only recycled, recyclable, or reusable packaging in all of our products, and as of May 2021 we’re proud to say we are 62% there!
We produce some products with packaging that uses plastic recovered from the ocean, post-consumer recycled plastic, and also certified recycled plastic from Infinity Recycling, an innovative recycling process where plastic waste is fully regenerated to be like new, enabling plastic to be infinitely recycled without losing its quality.
Keep up with our Zero Waste journey, and check our progress with the products that are helping us meet our Zero Waste Pledge*.
Together, we can create a cleaner planet.
* Only using packaging designed to be recyclable, reusable or containing recycled materials by end 2021.
About the Author
Camille Poggi is a doctor in Pharmacy (PharmD.) and is passionate about skincare and how the skin works in general. She specializes in the cosmetic industry and worked for renowned companies in France like L’Oréal and Chanel before moving to London. After being a training manager for 4 years, Camille is at ease with explaining how products work in the skin and how to adapt her speech according to the audience.
She joined REN in January 2020 as International Training Manager and moved to the Research & Development team earlier this year to be the new Scientific Education Manager. A tailored-made role where she assesses and leads all technical communication and ensures scientific compliance is always met. She’s also involved in new product development from the earliest stages. Finding a way to create sustainable skincare products and making sure the message is properly delivered and understood is definitely a big challenge but also her favourite part working for REN.