New recycling options for beauty lovers

Tricky-to-recycle pots, pumps jars and tubs no longer need to end up in landfill.

When it comes to beauty, environmental sustainability approaches might not offer as much to get jazzed about as new research with the potential to reverse skin aging or an amazing new lipstick texture.

But undoubtedly addressing the growing mountain of waste is the most dominant and important talking point around the future of beauty right now, along with the brands and products leading the way.

The ‘clean’ conversation continues, as what’s in our products remains of vital interest but increasingly, it’s joined by a more pressing issue: the state of our planet, in more ways than one.

Given estimates by Zero Waste Week UK that beauty packaging accounts for 120 billion units a year, and as the climate crisis accelerates, considerations around every aspect of beauty and personal care production, packaging and waste are being cconsidered.

The good news is that although the problem is immense, it’s both the big changes, and the small, that can have an impact. 

New options for tricky to recycle packaging

Mecca staff with one of the new Terracycle bins. 

This week Mecca has announced its new partnership with Terracycle, an initiative that takes beauty packaging and recycles it at dedicated locations, something often not possible through your usual curbside recycling as beauty products often have tricky components like pumps and metal inserts.

All you need to do is collect up your empty bottles, pots, tubes, palettes and more, and deposit them in dedicated Terracycle bins placed in every Mecca store or pass them to a staff member. Ensure each item is empty or they cannot be accepted. 

Since commencing an initial trial in selected Mecca stores in October 2019, Mecca and Terracycle together have collected approximately 10,240 beauty containers and successfully diverted them from going to landfill.

This partnership follows brands including Emma Lewisham and Schwarzkopf’s previous commitment to Terracycle which means you now have more opportunities to ensure the products you used are recycled correctly.

Schwarzkopf Cares program even involves recycling waste haircare, hair colour and even steel and aluminium hair aerosols for free via courier.

Lewisham has also put significant effort into ensuring the plastic used in new Brighten Your Day Crème, as with each of the brands previous products, remains in circularity. The initial purchase comes with the airless pump components as well as a loose tub containing the daily moisturiser that easily slots into an outer casing. When finished you can re-purchase a refill and return the empty inner tub to the brand for free using the delivery bag the refill came in. It is then cleaned, sterilised, refilled and re-sold. 

Kiwi beauty brand Aleph is taking a similar approach with the launch of Re Aleph, a circular initiative to encourage the return of its glass packaging for refilling and reusing.

Aotearoa’s finest: 10 homegrown beauty brands to try

Shopping local is always a desirable proposition but an ever-increasing stable of reputable homegrown beauty brands makes it easier than ever.

What to try first? We look at some worthy additions to your bathroom shelf created in locations from Paihia in the north to Wanaka in the south.

The latest in a now-packed stable of natural skincare gems, Trilogy’s Triple Action Jelly Exfoliator is designed to gentle smoothing and brightening dull skin using a combination of pumice, bamboo and jojoba spheres in a local manuka honey and rosehip oil base. The company has built a respected reputation off the back of its initial rosehip seed oil products, formulated by sisters Sarah Gibbs and Catherine de Groot in 2002 in Wellington and has since grown from a boutique local operation to an internationally loved brand with fans in the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Victoria Beckham.

Three years of sampling went into the first product from new Auckland skincare brand The Edit. Designed to offer just what you need to care for your skin and no excess, The Luminous Drops Day Cream is an ideal daily moisturiser that has natural yet useful ingredients like Macadamia oil for omegas, Kakadu Plum to brighten and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid.

Dermatologist and founder of Skin Institute and MoleMap, Dr Mark Gray used his background to inform AO Skincare, a range of clean, active skincare products with high-performance ingredients as well as some key local ingredients. Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot uses Retinal and Bakuchiol to reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.

Aleph Beauty Cheek & Lip Tint, $55 We love a multi-tasker! When it comes to makeup it doesn’t get easier than these gel colours applied with your fingers, and made to melt into skin for a hint of colour. Created by Auckland makeup artist Emma Peters, they are made in NZ using skin-loving ingredients like cocoa butter and jojoba seed oil.

A fragrance experience unlike any other, Curionoir Extrait De Parfum offers unique evocative concentrated perfumes created by founder Tiffany Witehera in Auckland and should you desire, encased in hand-blown heirloom glass vessels created by Monmouth Glass Studio. Our pick? Pūroto Rose, a smoky and woody rose fragrance perfect for wearing in winter.

Snowberry’s skincare uses local natural ingredients to formulate its skincare with many key ingredients grown at the dedicated 22-hectare Snowberry Gardens in Wellsford. What’s more it backs those products with scientifically-proven results thanks to gold-standard clinical trials. It’s certainly the case with its popular New Radiance Face Serum. Containing anti-aging peptide powerhouse CuPEP™ Copper Tripeptide complex and NZ Kanuka honey, the lightweight gel serum hydrates and softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and boosts skin’s radiance.

Manuka oil and Manuka honey are a few of the ingredients Living Nature has been formulating with since its inception in Kerikeri in 1987 through they’ve since extended to included some of New Zealand’s precious, skin-loving natives like Harukeke, Totarol and Kumerahou. Research, development and manufacture still happen at the brand’s Bay of Islands base, a familiar stop on the road to Kerikeri as you can still purchase the likes of the excellent Luminous Pressed Powders and face oils from the storefront there. Thankfully for the rest of us it’s also distributed to NZ retailers far and wide as well as exporting to 14 other countries.

The world’s first deer milk skincare brand, kōtia was created by a group of Otago high-country farmers. The creation followed the discovery of the deer milk’s skin soothing, smoothing and softening properties including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, plus folic acid and vitamins E and D3. Now featuring a luxurious suite of products including day and night creams, masks and a hand cream, kōtia’s highlight is its Exfoliating Cleansing Milk. It is designed to gently sweep away surface-layer dead skin cells for a brighter complexion, while also preventing pore blockages that can lead to blemishes.

Starting with fine-fragranced candles, Wanaka-based sisters Sarah and Rose Agnew have extended their business George & Edi to further home fragrance and body care in the 10 years since their launch. Each item created holds one of the brand’s signature scents, from complex and rich Licorice, to classic oak moss or tart and fruity Rhubarbe. Artisanal, small batch producers, their candles provide a local option for those that love a chic, scented abode, the artisanal collection of vessels created with Wellington Ceramicist Angela Francis perfect if you prefer a pop of interior colour.

Karen Murell’s lipstick line has become a hit since its inception on Auckland’s North Shore in 2008, offering natural lip colours created with ingredients like avocado oil, evening primrose oil, candelilla, carnauba wax, cinnamon and sweet orange in a range of on trend shades. Her latest release is an accompanying lip scrub stick made with coconut flower sugar to remove dry skin before applying colour.