M&S Beauty Takeback Scheme

Marks & Spencer launches Beauty Takeback Scheme for recycling all of your used beauty products

24th July 2023 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

The Marks & Spencer Beauty Takeback Scheme lets you recycle any and all beauty packaging in more than 40 stores across the UK


M&S was the first major UK retailer to launch a national clothing recycling scheme in partnership with Oxfam back in 2008, and now it’s launched a similar initiative designed to help people recycle their used beauty products.

Called the Beauty Takeback Scheme, the initiative has been launched with beauty recycling experts, HANDLE as is available in more than 40 stores across the country.

The scheme allows anyone to recycle their used beauty packaging, even packaging that’s typically hard to recycle, no matter where they bought it. HANDLE will then help turn this waste into new packaging and products.

HANDLE already works with retailers, brands, and manufacturers to make better use of packaging such as lids, tubes, pumps, sachets, and pipettes that often end up in landfill because they fall out of mainstream municipal recycling.

Despite producing 120 billion units of packaging globally each year, estimates suggest that the amount that gets recycled ranges anywhere from 50% all the way down to just 9%.

This is because, in the UK, there are certain packaging types found specifically in beauty products that can’t be accepted at home recycling centres.

WANT MORE? Recycle logo quiz: Do you know what the recycling logos on beauty and makeup packaging mean?


M&S Beauty Takeback Scheme

M&S Beauty Takeback recycling schemeM&S

From now, M&S customers can return any form of plastic or aluminium beauty packaging – from bottles and tubes to caps, pumps, and tubs – from any retailer, by dropping their used product into dedicated boxes located within each store’s beauty section.

The retailer is expecting to collect over two tonnes of empty beauty packaging within the first 12 months.

“We’re passionate about creating simple solutions that help our customers live lower carbon lives,” said Carmel McQuaid, Head of ESG at M&S.

“Plastic is one of the biggest challenges facing the beauty industry and whilst there is still lots more to do, we hope this scheme encourages customers to recycle their beauty empties to give them a second life and reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfill.

“Alongside our other schemes, including Shwopping and plastic takeback, it’s one of the many ways we’re driving the circular economy on our roadmap to net zero.”

This is a mission that’s been a key part of M&S’ corporate strategy since 2007, when the high-street giant launched its Plan A programme.

After launching the clothing recycling initiative, Shwopping, with Oxfam in 2008, M&S achieved zero waste to landfill in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2012 and introduced its plastic takeback scheme in its Food Halls in 2019.

This allows customers to recycle more of its packaging, including ‘soft’ plastics that aren’t typically collected for recycling by local authorities in the UK.

In June, M&S launched its 2023 Sustainability Report which outlines the progress made in the last year. It details how M&S was the first large retailer to introduce ‘BYOB’ (Bring your own Bag) to 251 of its stores; a click-and-collect initiative that reduces unnecessary packaging waste and will save 10 million units of plastic annually.

In its own brand beauty and wellbeing range – Apothecary – M&S introduced large refill alternatives that use 80% less plastic as well as removing all plastic windows and plastic cello wrapping from packaging. This equates to a saving of 250,000 pieces of plastic.


Maybelline launches UK’s largest makeup recycling scheme

The M&S initiative isn’t the first nationwide recycling scheme for beauty packaging.

Back at the start of 2020, Maybelline partnered with Tesco, Superdrug, Boots and Sainsbury’s to launch makeup recycling boxes with TerraCycle, a leading recycling company that has similar schemes globally.

Once the recycling station boxes are full, the packaging is separated by polymer type, cleaned, and then extruded into plastic pellets which can be used by manufacturers to make a variety of other products. You can find your nearest recycling bin on the Maybelline website.


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