Business Categories Reports Podcasts Events Awards Webinars
Contact My Account About

The Beauty Drop-Off: Pact and Ulta Redefine Recycling

Published March 26, 2024
Published March 26, 2024
Pact Collective

Despite being in an era where environmental consciousness is paramount, over 120 billion beauty packages are created every year, yet only 14% make it to recycling plants and an even lower 9% are actually recycled. This is because packaging is often too small, too flexible, or made of too many materials to be recycled through traditional curbside recycling systems, leaving them destined for polluting landfills. According to Forbes, 94% of Americans support recycling, and 74% believe it should be a priority, however, only 35% actually recycle due to confusion and lack of convenient options.

The nonprofit organization Pact Collective has been working to tackle beauty’s recycling issue since being founded in 2021. The NPO is determined to provide a solution for hard-to-recycle beauty packaging, working towards greater circularity in the industry from both businesses and consumers. Recently, the collective announced a partnership with Ulta Beauty that is set to tackle recycling head-on, one cosmetic packaging piece at a time.

The collaboration includes the rollout of an in-store take-back initiative, the Beauty Drop-Off, which can be found at 1,350 Ulta doors in the US. The program aims to help consumers rid themselves of the burden of recycling beauty SKUs correctly, providing bins where shoppers can drop off empty packaging. Pact Collective is then responsible for the waste and goes on to facilitate recycling through upcycling, downcycling, molecular recycling, and waste-to-energy conversion.

"We hope that this collaboration will provide more education and accessibility to beauty consumers," Carly Snider, Executive Director of Pact Collective, told BeautyMatter. "The program highlights the importance of understanding where our packaging goes when we are done using it while offering an end-of-life solution for those trickier packages to recycle."

The duo's partnership initially began in 2023, when 90 bins were piloted in Ulta. "The Beauty Drop-Offs 1,350+ new locations for consumers to properly dispose of their hard-to-recycle beauty empties has almost doubled Pact's drop-off bin locations overnight," Snider said. The Beauty Drop-Off is also available at 600 Sephora stores, as well as several Fenty Beauty and ILIA locations.

Ulta believes that consumers are more conscious than ever when it comes to the beauty products they purchase and feels that offering them seamless solutions to dispose of their purchases will only amplify their shopping experience satisfaction. By 2025, Ulta aims for 50% of its product offering to be recyclable, refillable, or made from biosourced materials, furthering its commitment to a greener industry supply chain.

"Ulta Beauty is leading by example through its commitment to pre-competition and collaboration," Snider continued. "It is a major player in beauty and its commitment to Pact's mission is a great signal to other beauty industry stakeholders that we don't have to compete on sustainability—working together will expedite our ability to drastically reduce beauty packaging waste."

Pact Collective's mission to unite the industry through collaborative sustainability efforts is also exemplified by its other initiatives, including an alliance with climate technology company Bluebird. The partnership introduced a turnkey solution to over 150 beauty and wellness brands that allowed them to quickly assess the recyclability of their current packaging, helping them learn what needs changing to keep their products as sustainable as possible. The technology also communicates the most effective and appropriate disposal and recycling guidelines to consumers through an interactive e-commerce widget. The widget provides Pact drop-off bin locations and ensures the platform reflects the most up-to-date recycling infrastructure.

The convenience Pact Collective provides with its drop-off bins is sure to capture the attention of consumers, of which 76% state they prefer to shop at environmentally friendly retailers. By hosting The Beauty Drop-Off, Ulta Beauty is not only exemplifying its commitment to its consumer's wishes but also to a more sustainable and ethical future, which is sure to drive a higher footfall. The collaboration brings hope that simple yet effective solutions can make a hugely positive difference in the civil war against climate change, but it is up to retailers and consumers to make use of these solutions, paving the way for a cleaner future. 


2 Article(s) Remaining

Subscribe today for full access