L'Oréal Paris's New Sustainability Initiative Will Save 900 Tonnes of New Plastic in the UK
L'Oréal Paris is making it a whole lot easier to adopt a more environmentally friendly hair-care routine. From September, the L'Oréal Paris bestselling Elvive bottles will not only be recyclable, but they'll also be made from 100 percent recycled plastic. The labels on the bottles will also look a little different from here on out, as new labels include larger, clearer recycling instructions.
The brand's sustainability mission comes not only amidst a general shift in the beauty industry to reconsider the amount of waste it produces, but also from research it conducted with the help of Opinion Matters; the study surveyed 2,002 participants in the UK between the ages of 16 and 55+.
The survey found that while being plastic conscious is a top priority for UK consumers, there's still a lot of confusion around what packaging is recyclable and how to recycle properly, with 40 percent of the participants wanting brands to help them make a difference environmentally. Add that to the fact that the study found two-fifths of women agree they have to choose between the effectiveness of a product or it being sustainable, and you have the motivation behind L'Oréal Paris's new sustainability initiative.
The first part of the initiative is simply to make it clearer for people how to recycle the Elvive products. Responding to findings in the survey that 63 percent of people didn't know that the green recycle logo meant a product is widely recycled and that 87 percent of people would recycle more if brands made it clearer on product packaging, L'Oréal redesigned the labels on the back of the bottles so one-third of the text is dedicated to the recycling instructions (depicted in the image above).
The biggest news, however, surrounds the bottles themselves. While the Elvive bottles have always been recyclable, they will now be made from 100 percent recyclable plastic, meaning they will never be made from virgin plastic again. The brand calculated that, annually, this will save 900 tonnes of new plastic in the UK (the same weight as 50 double-decker buses) and 7,000 tonnes globally (that's a little bit less than what the Eiffel Tower weighs). This, unfortunately, still excludes the caps, which are not yet made from recycled plastic (although they are still recyclable). According to a press release from the brand, L'Oréal is actively working to find ways to use 100 percent recycled plastic for every bit of the product — caps, lids, pumps, tubes, you name it — and to extend the sustainability initiative across makeup and skin care as well. In fact, the brand has committed for all plastic packaging to be either recyclable, reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2025 and to use only plastic from recycled or biobased sourced by 2030.
Additionally, the brand claims to be exploring how to make the formulas of the shampoos, conditioners, and stylers themselves more sustainable. "We are evolving Elvive inside and out," Laure Lemarquis, CSR and sustainability director for L'Oréal's consumer products division, said in a statement. "In addition to the sustainability of our bottles, we have also explored how our product on the inside could make a difference: our formulas will be using only the most effective, biodegradable, and as always, ethically tested ingredients." The brand provided no further details on how it is going about doing this, however, and it's certainly something we'd like to see more transparency around in the future.
Over the past two decades, much of the conversation around recycling and sustainability has been how we as individuals can make a difference. How we need to change our buying habits, cut back on consumption, and be more diligent recyclers to truly make an impact. While all of this is true, it ignores the fact that we as individuals are only a small part of the waste problem and fails to highlight how large companies — be it in the beauty, fashion, food, or household-goods space — are contributing to a vast amount of the plastic waste in the world. The changes L'Oréal Paris is making with its Elvive line and its sustainability commitments are small but important steps to making real change in the beauty industry — and one we hope more large, global companies will take note of and get on board with.
Keep reading to see (and shop!) the full range of new sustainable packaging.