Sustainable Beauty: How Pact Collective is Revolutionizing the Way We Recycle Makeup Packaging
As consumers, we're increasingly aware of the impact our daily choices have on the environment. While many of us strive to use clean beauty products and recycle our beauty packaging, it's not always easy to do so.
That's where Pact comes in. As a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing beauty and wellness packaging waste, Pact Collective is working to create systemic change in the beauty industry. In this post, we'll explore how SAPPHO is partnering with Pact to tackle makeup packaging waste, an important societal issue. We'll also take a closer look at Pact's innovative approach to recycling, which includes a beauty packaging collection program, and a commitment to transparency and education. Join us as we delve into the world of sustainable beauty and discover how we can all do our part to protect the planet.
SAPPHO joined Pact Collective in 2023, as we realized no matter how hard we tried, we could not get to zero waste and still have functional products and packaging, but also that as humans, we could not live with knowing that most makeup packaging ends up in landfills even if you put it in your recycling bin.
Many pieces are just too small for recycling machinery and tubes especially pose a problem, as residual makeup can clog the machines.
What is Pact Collective?
Pact is a non-profit, small, transparent organization dedicated to driving systemic change to reduce beauty and wellness packaging waste. Pact exclusively works with the beauty industry, is brand agnostic and focuses on education.
They are also a beauty collection program: you can drop off clean beauty containers for recycling at participating store fronts. Pact collects beauty industry hard-to-recycle packaging so it can be diverted from the landfill and processed responsibly right now.
Mascara tubes are on this list, and SAPPHO is pleased to say that although not taken in local recycling bins for now (here’s why), the way they are made will make their biodegrading much quicker than a product with fused plastic to plastic, or plastic fused with metal.
Where can you recycle beauty packaging through Pact?
In Canada, Hudson's Bay has stepped up to the plate and provides Pact drop-off bins at many store locations. In the US, look for Beauty Heroes, Cos bar, Credo Beauty, and select Sephora and Ulta locations. (Just beware of cleanwashing if you choose to purchase other products at some of these retailers, we do not endorse everything they carry!)
Here is a list of accepted packaging and where to find participating Pact retailers who offer drop off.
SAPPHO at this time, is very small and cannot join the mail-back program due to our commitment for testing for PFAS and organic fluorine. Our goal is, once we get our line in order by having replaced the products testing over 10 ppm of organic fluorine, we will dedicate funds to help with this endeavour.
Pact deals with beauty and wellness packaging exclusively as this increases the likelihood of packaging finding the highest and the best use for the material they collect. They only collects packaging that is hard to manage, that cannot be recycled locally, and work hard at finding the best and highest use for what they collect.
Pact is transparent (words that speak to our hearts) – their auditing system allows full visibility into the recycling process. They keep track of every drop-off and mail-in, including how much plastic and what kind of plastic, how much glass, etc. Pact's end goal is to collect mass volume and then sell to reputable end-buyers who can reuse or repurpose the material.
It is not an end solution: Pact is one of the tools beauty brands can use to help with the problem. Ultimately, it is up to every brand to make sure they are doing their best due diligence and allow their consumers to weigh in, ask, challenge, and even help them do better.
Doing our part, as best as we can
Here are some of the things we've done in recent years/months:
- Use non-laminated boxes and less laminated labels
- Develop creative refillable makeup
- Explore PCR materials
- Test for PFAS in packaging and formulations
- Eliminate plastic film 'windows' on our refillable powders
- Upcycle plastic caps, glass bottles by labelling them rather than replacing them
- Consider full product life cycle in any decision
These are some of the things we have done, and we have lost business: we were kicked out of a store for our packaging not being cool enough (it’s okay we have more than made up the sales) but it was down to all the new products flooding the market from brands that took in millions during the pandemic. They are steeped in plastics, some have untested chemicals at the forefront of their new formulas, and they are all testing horrifically high for forever chemicals aka PFAS. The thing is, those at the helm of the take-over of clean beauty are male venture capitalists whose only goal is to amass money. Cancer is a major public health problem worldwide and the second leading cause of death in the United States.
There are many problems to tackle in the beauty industry, let us tackle one we can handle today given our size, and one we can share in with you, our customers, to make a difference together. The time will come for halting the other issues, some being already underway backstage at SAPPHO; today we celebrate a path to more sustainable beauty, brought to us by the team at Pact Collective.
Let's get recycling!