beauty

Small change, big difference: The Kiwi brand that just made recyclable pump bottles a thing.

You Beauty's Better Beauty is a monthly initiative in which Mamamia highlights a brand, product or launch that is making positive changes in the sustainability space.

When it comes to the beauty industry, these days there aren't a lot of things you would classify as being truly innovative and first-of-their-kind. Right? 

Because it feels like every other day, there's some fancy new product waltzing around, claiming to offer stuff no other product has ever offered before. 

Watch: While you're here, why not find out all about the 7 eco-friendly habits that aren't so green... Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

So when Essano's first 100 per cent recyclable pump came strolling onto the beauty shelves, we were impressed. It's the first of its kind in Australia and New Zealand - an actual *fully* recyclable bottle

How good is that! 

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Below, we have a chat with Essano's sustainability expert and senior brand manager Shannon Green and find out more about their new recyclable pumps and some of the other major goals it's kicking in the sustainability space.

What sets Essano apart from other sustainable beauty brands?

The pumps! Have you already tried them? You have?? We know, we know. The first few pushes can be a bit tougher than a normal pump, but we reckon we can all suck it up for, y'know - the sake of our environment.

Because in case you didn't know, although most pump bottles are recyclable, metal springs cannot be separated from the plastic in a typical pump - which means they can't actually be recycled.

"Bottle pumps traditionally contain a metal spring within it and up until now these pumps have all gone to landfill," said Green.

Sad face. (And sad planet).

"But in a really exciting first for Australian supermarkets, our new Essano™ Body Lotions utilise a springless pump in order to make it 100 per cent recyclable and ensure these pumps become part of the circular economy solution."

Image: Supplied/Mamamia

And this isn't the first time the brand has made some noteworthy moves in the sustainability space. 

In 2017, the New Zealand-born range transitioned its haircare bottles to 100 per cent rPET plastic (recycled polyethylene tetraphyte, if you wanna get fancy).

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So... what exactly is rPET plastic?

Green explained it like this: "Basically rPET is pre-used plastic that we are using again."

Ohhhh!

"What that means is we collect the plastic from Australian commercial and curbside recycling and turn it into our packaging. By purchasing post-consumer rPET, businesses like ours are helping to support the demand for the recycling of plastics and ‘closing the loop'."

"As a proudly New Zealand-owned business the supplier of the rPET we use is a local Kiwi business, which additionally helps to support ‘on-shore’ recycling and reduce transport emissions."

While it might sound like a small change, it actually makes a big difference.

The beauty industry produces an estimated 120 billion units of packaging every year - and 95 per cent of that goes straight in the bin. So, it's a really massive achievement.

"We were one of the first companies in Australasia to do so and were delighted to see the big global companies following suit," said Green.

"In the last year, 62 per cent of the plastic bottles we produced were made of 100 per cent recycled material! This was an increase of eight per cent from the previous year."

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Huge.

"Haircare was our first step, and we have been working our way through the range, with our body wash and body lotion containers also making the switch to rPET."

"It was a significant undertaking for Essano Limited – but if more businesses commit to using recycled plastics, we can collectively reduce the production of virgin plastics." 

What other good things can we expect on the sustainability front?

"In addition to rPET, we have since explored how we can use other recycled materials like Post Consumer Regrind (PCR) HDPE(1)," said Green.

PC... what?

If you have no idea what all those letters and numbers mean (same), PCR basically stands for post-consumer resin - another type of environmentally-friendly packaging derived from consumer waste.

"In 2019, we had the option to launch our natural deodorant range using virgin plastic out of China, however, our Senior Leadership Team agreed to delay our launch by six months so we could use a New Zealand supplier to create a new tool that allowed us to use 100 per cent PCR HDPE in our natural deodorant packaging. This is the first of its kind in Australasia."

In such a crowded (and noisy) market, consumers are now not only becoming more and more conscious of our environmental impact and the innovation in sustainability, but we also want to know where our products and ingredients come from.

"When you look at the UN Sustainable Development Goals this is only one part of the story - sustainable also refers to our community, our governance, and our suppliers," said Green.

"In the last year, we are proud to have transitioned to using a sustainably sourced Rosehip Oil from the extreme south of Chile, in the Patagonia Austral. Rosehip seeds are handpicked by smallholder farmers and their families; they control and own the land they work on. The process of growing and extracting Rosehip Oil is Fair For Life certified by Ecocert, ensuring safe and equitable working conditions for all the farmers involved."

"This program supports the women in Chile primarily, as they are the harvesters. The men often leave the children and women behind for the city to work and there is no economic opportunity for the women in these remote areas. As a result, their cultural heritage is disrupted, and their villages emptied." 

"Providing economic opportunities for these people allows them to stay where their homes are; they can become part of the world economy without leaving the culture and traditional life that they cherish." 

Feature image: Instagram; @essano_beauty/Mamamia

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