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Refillable Packaging and the future of beauty – O’lay, MAC and a few others in leading roles.

In this era of green consumerism, many businesses regardless of type are moving towards the part of sustainable practices that are environmentally friendly. It is remarkable to know that the beauty industry is however not left out.

The massive recent switch to recycled plastic pumps, aluminum bottles and compostable wrappers is more than enough realization that the beauty world has finally woken up to the problem of packaging waste. But remarkably, a few brands are taking the extra step to guarantee environmental safety via environmentally friendly products. The practice of refillable beauty packaging; began quite recently by a few number of beauty brands is getting wide consideration by their beauty brand counterparts in recent times.

In Vogue reporter; Lisa Niven-Phillip’s own words, ‘Just as we’ve become used to bringing our own bags to carry home our groceries, the inevitable next step is bringing our own shampoo bottles to the salon when we’ve run out of shampoo, or having our perfume bottles refilled once we’ve spritzed the last drop. Bringing single-use packaging down to an absolute minimum, this route tackles waste as well as encouraging brands to create objects built to last for years rather than the lifespan of one product; sort of like Kjaer Weis’s ultra-chic silver make-up compacts, which are designed to be used again and again.’

Associate director of brand communications for global skin and personal care brands at Procter & Gamble; Anita Marsh had this to say; ‘the new refillable initiative being trialed at O’lay is kicking off with just one product, but the company hopes to expand it further if it’s successful. This initial pilot will help us learn more about whether people like the idea of refills and whether the package design is intuitive and enjoyable,” she told us. “We feel we have a unique opportunity to impact how people shop for skincare products… it’s important for us to learn and experiment to see what works and figure out the best path forward.”

In recent times, more brands are offering incentives for those making the effort to shop more sustain-ably, such as reward schemes or savings on refills in-store

Whilst O’lay begins with her Regenerist Whip Moisturizer, some brands like Kjaer Weis now have mascara, lip gloss and eye liner in refillable formats, where refills are sold for nearly half the prize of original products to encourage consumer participation. Unlike these brands, it might interest you to know that MAC has been selling refill versions of eyeshadows, concealer, blush, powder and more for years now. The refillable products usually come in their metal pan, ensuring that consumers do not have to repurchase its plastic pan. Refills are usually managed by the ‘MAC’s Back to MAC’ scheme, with an extra provision to allow consumers return six of its primary packaging containers for recycling in exchange for a new lipstick of your choice, at no charge at all.

Would you opt for a refill? Let us know in the comment session.


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