Canadian Shoppers Drug Mart launches free recycling program for its private-label cosmetics line

Canadian Shoppers Drug Mart launches free recycling program for its private label cosmetics line

In an innovative move towards greater sustainability, Canadian retail giant Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) has recently unveiled a pioneering initiative: the launch of a free recycling program for its private-label cosmetics line, Quo Beauty. This program gives customers the opportunity to responsibly dispose of empty cosmetics packaging at any convenient SDM store.

This program, supported by TerraCycle, Quo Beauty, and SDM, aims to facilitate the recycling of packaging materials and contribute to the Shoppers Foundation for Women’s Health, reinforcing their commitment to social responsibility. As the first major retailer in Canada to implement such a program for its private-label color cosmetics line, SDM seeks to set a precedent for the industry and signal a shift towards greater sustainability practices in the beauty and personal care product industries.

To learn more about the recycling program, we spoke with Kathy Pazakis, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at TerraCycle, for her insights.

Program background

International recycling company TerraCycle has been in operation for over 20 years and in 20 countries and focuses on developing “first-of-their-kind processes for recycling complex waste streams, like beauty products, that are not typically recyclable through curbside services,” said Pazakis. The company can “recycle the hard-to-recycle because we work with brands, retailers, and other stakeholders who fund the recycling process,” and “has worked with many brands and retailers on beauty and personal care recycling programs across North America, including Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, L’Oreal, Gillette, Herbal Essences, and Schwarzkopf,” she added.

The need for the partnership between SDM and TerraCycle arose because “most cosmetics packaging is not accepted in municipal/curbside recycling programs due to its small size–and because it’s frequently made of complex materials including various types of plastics, metals, and glass,” Pazakis explained, and “the products and packaging must then be shredded, cleaned, and separated by material type to be recycled.”

To address these issues, SDM “developed a partnership with TerraCycle to offer consumers a convenient recycling solution for empty Quo Beauty cosmetics, so that these materials can be recycled into new products and kept out of landfills and incinerators,” she said.

How it works

Pazakis advised that to take advantage of the new free recycling program, “consumers can create a TerraCycle account and sign up for the program” on TerraCycle’s website. Then, customers “can reuse any box to collect their empty Quo Beauty cosmetic packages; once the box is full, consumers can sign in to their TerraCycle account to download a prepaid shipping label and use the label to send their empty packages to TerraCycle to be recycled,” she explained.

After SDM customers have successfully shipped their empty Quo Beauty cosmetics, the “components are shredded, cleaned, and separated by material type,” she continued, and “they are then recycled into raw materials that manufacturers use to make new products.” As a further incentive for SDM customers to take advantage of the free program, she added, one dollar “will be donated to the Shoppers Foundation for Women’s Health for every pound of cosmetic packaging recycled through the program.”

Future plans

By teaming up with TerraCycle, SDM has not only provided customers with a convenient means of recycling but also demonstrated its commitment to reducing waste and promoting circular economy principles. As the program launched only recently, “we look forward to receiving consumer feedback and working with SDM to drive the future of the program,” Pazakis concluded.
As the initiative gains momentum, SDM hopes to set a standard for other brands and retailers across Canada and North America to follow suit and ultimately contribute to a greener, more sustainable future for the beauty industry and beyond.

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