CosmeticsDesign spoke to Pact Collective about how they are working towards a circular economy, why they believe the transition is important, and the challenges.
This interview was conducted by email.na
What is Pact Collective’s mission for circularity in personal care and cosmetics?
The beauty and wellness industry produces over 120 billion packages each year, most of which end up in landfills or incinerators. Packages are often too small, too flexible, or contain too much material to be mechanically recycled through curbside recycling programs. Pact is on a mission to change this.
As a non-profit organization, Pact is dedicated to eliminating packaging waste in the beauty and health industry. We foster collaboration by working with all stakeholders in the beauty industry to drive the drive towards reduction, recycling and circularity.
Pact reduces packaging waste in three ways:
Education: Pact helps members understand and address the complexities of sustainable packaging. The goal is to hold all stakeholders accountable for the environmental impact of the industry. Pact provides fact-based information through educational webinars, toolkits, events, and more.
Networking/Community: Pact provides a space for industry insiders to exchange ideas with like-minded organizations and thought leaders. We believe pre-competitive conversation and collaboration will lead to action, innovation and ultimately a more cyclical industry.
Hard-to-recycle package take-back program: Pact offers a streamlined package take-back program for industry players and consumers. Pact collects packaging that local facilities cannot accept or practically recycle, and ensures that all recyclable items are collected. We are committed to finding the best and best uses for our collected materials.
What are the main hurdles in creating a circular beauty brand today?
The biggest hurdle isn’t just beauty, it’s in every industry, and the current economic model is linear. This model works as if we don’t have finite resources, which of course we don’t. As a result, it encourages overconsumption.
Beauty and wellness products tend to be designed for short-term use, and very few products are built to last and are reused or recycled. As a result, they end up in landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. A major hurdle in our industry is the need to fundamentally rethink the design process and the traditional way products are packaged and commercialized. are not talking to each other and are not making informed and sustainable decisions. Circularity requires us to work together, share knowledge and push each other forward.
Circularity when it comes to beauty packaging means refillable or reusable formats and packaging that can actually be recycled. From a materials perspective, our industry uses large quantities (thousands of tons) of low-value plastics in small formats. Worse, like the various layers of plastic and metallized deco, it uses fused materials that cannot be mechanically recycled. through curb programs. It’s linear, not circular, and should be changed.
Why are beauty brands becoming members and supporting the creation of circular beauty programs?
The global plastic waste and packaging problem is more serious than the beauty industry, but the beauty industry has its own challenges. We were founded by industry veterans who know our hurdles. One of our co-founders, Victor Casale, created the original his Back-to-Mac program, the first package collection program in the beauty industry. The power of Pact is that we are for and by beauty.
All beauty people are responsible for the packaging they manufacture, sell and use. After launching the service just over a year ago, it already has over 140 members. Our package collection program is her one tool in the toolkit. We have in-store bins, mailback collections, and a new discontinued inventory program to help brands dispose of unused or unsellable products in the most responsible manner possible.
The most influential work is gathering to design new packaging methods to improve recyclability and promote refillable formats. Pact is here to lead these conversations and establish a platform to foster the collaboration needed to take the industry to new levels of sustainability.
What else should beauty professionals know about circular beauty today?
We can’t do it alone, and a brand-centric approach won’t do it. As an industry, if we want to protect our oceans and climate and achieve circularity, we must take responsibility for the waste we collectively create. Pact is here to catalyze, promote and lead.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We believe in transparency. Pact is here to share real information about packaging production, material claims, recycling rates, and other longevity realities, even if the truth is inconvenient.