Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Great Big Recycled Family

You really must use liquid shampoo? No luck with solid ones? What about soap? Sure you need a shower gel? Well, in that case let’s make sure we get the packaging right. Our shampoos, conditioners, gels and creams now come snugly packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled pots and bottles.
It all started in November last year, when our Creative Buying Team sourced lovely materials for us, but due to stock levels and lead times, it took a while to make sure that all clear and black bottles, as well as black pots now in shops are the ones made out of the stuff that gets put in recycling bins around the world.
By doing that, we save about 115 tonnes of CO2 (according to WRAP, who helped us work out the figures), or around 20% of our flying emissions. We’re also saving nearly 90 tonnes of virgin plastic or 900 barrels of oil. That plastic can also be recycled again (I’d like to say “and again and again and again”, but plastic, unlike glass, cannot be recycled indefinitely.)
With that we bring our total recycled content to about 90% of all packaging LUSH buy that can be taken home by customers. I worked out that figure by calculating the percentage of recycled material of all the paper, plastic, glass and metal we buy in to wrap our beautiful products. That means that for every one tonne of material we buy, 900kg came from recycled sources. As far as I know, that’s unique in our industry!
This year, I’m expecting we’ll buy over 470 tonnes of recycled material, that’s nearly the same we send to be recycled and much more than we send to landfill (at the factory, that is). There’s a new term for that: Waste Neutral, we are buying at least as much recycled as we’re recycling.
Buying recycled creates a market for recycled material and adds value, turning recycling into a profitable business; therefore, getting more people to join in, invest and help it to evolve.
Also, to make it just that bit easier, we’re asking customers to bring their black pots back in order to get a free fresh facemask. Five pots may get you a flawless complexion and a fit planet.
Pots and bottles are the new members of a growing family: carrier bags, paper bags, aluminium tins, gift wrapping paper, paper ribbons, card boxes, tags, inserts, Lush Times, light-box displays and more. They are our big recycled family, some real trailer trash! Recycled trailer trash, I should say.
Like every respectable family, we have our black sheep. Labels and greaseproof paper are quite rebellious. But in this family, the naughty bunch are the ones that are still virgin. If you can take their virginity away and make them recycled, please let us know and we’ll arrange the dowry.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

This Easter, Celebrate Life!

Even if Easter is not part of your culture, let us take our precious time off to celebrate all living things, the natural cycle of birth, life and death and how our interaction with our environment can foster the former or the latter.
Like every commemorative date, we celebrate by consuming food and drinks, giving presents and congregating with our family and friends.
Just as we take into consideration how we will get somewhere (and come back) and we put some thought to plan the time, transport, route, etc, so should we do the same for all the other things we consume during the festive period (and every other day of the year). Have we thought: about how our food, drink and gifts get to us; how they were made and where they came from; where our money is going to and what we are financing? And ultimately, what happens when we've used it all up?
A nice concept that I like to use to think about consumption is that for everything we buy, we are making little investments in our present and our future. What do we want to invest in?
I want to invest my money in things that won't have a big impact on the our environment, those that will mean we are making small steps to reduce poverty or social problems and those which will translate into respect for humans and animals.
That's how big a statement everything we purchase makes: from that morning latte to choosing your holidays, including your cosmetics.
So have a look at your Easter table and see if it makes you feel proud. See what kind of little investments you're making and if the things you're supporting are in line with your values.
If you happened to walk into a Lush shop this Easter and picked up one of our Easter Eggs, make sure they go to a good home and will be used throughly!
During Easter alone, we create an extra 8,000 tonnes of waste just from Easter Egg packaging!
At Lush, we were careful to use as little packaging as possible for our eggs. None of the contents are individually wrapped and the film is a compostable celullose film that will quickly biodegrade in your home compost or buried under the soil.
The cellulose comes from sustainable sources of wood. The company has also planted a 3,000-tree woodland near their manufacturing unit and have done a thorough life cycle assessment of their product. We like to know where our money is going to.
At Lush we like to help you find out what exactly you're buying, where it comes from and make sure it is appropriate to your needs, so that you really know what the little investments you're making when shopping are truly buying.