Estee Lauder Takes Back & Takes Charge

img_recprogramLuxury cosmetics, fragrance and personal care items have long presented a problem for recycling. To enhance the look and feel of the brands, the packaging is often is made up of multiple parts; some recyclable, some not. In either case, the process is not as simple as just tossing a bottle in a recycling bin.

Well one company it taking a stand. Estee Lauder, one of the world largest cosmetic companies, has announced that starting on March 29th its Origins retail stores nationwide will begin accepting all types of cosmetic packaging for recycling. Tubes, compacts, jars and other components that typically end up in landfills will be taken to a special recycling center for processing.

Estee Lauder is not new to eco-conscious design. Under the leadership of John Delfausse, Chief Environmental Officer and V.P. of Global Package Development, the company has employed ground breaking initiatives in sustainability. A good example is Lauder’s use of 80% recycled aluminum in the caps and metal components. John realized that for metal fabricators to produce caps from recycled materials, a high-quality recycled stock would need to be made available. So he challenged United Aluminum, the largest producer of rolled aluminum stock, to develop a product that would contain 80% recycled materials yet look as beautiful as virgin stock once fabricated. The solution was a win-win, according to Delfausse, virgin aluminum can take up to 90% more energy to process than recycled aluminum.

This is just one example of how sustainability can be achieved despite logistical obstacles when big companies are truly committed.

To learn more about the Origins recycling program visit, and don’t miss there Back to Origins Recycling Event in New York and Los Angeles on April 2nd.

Sources: 1, 2

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