John Lewis launches beauty recycling trial with £5 reward

Pic: John Lewis

Retailer John Lewis & Partners has announced it is launching a beauty recycling trial, which offers members of its loyalty programme the chance to recycle empty makeup and skincare items in return for a £5 voucher.   

The trial, called BeautyCycle, is in partnership with TerraCycle, whose aim is to eliminate waste by recycling “previously non-recyclable” waste and diverting it from landfills and incinerators. 


TerraCycle Europe general manager Laure Cucuron will be speaking at The Recycling Event on 2 July. She will be discussing how manufacturers and the recycling industry are developing new packaging recycling models. Info:

This collaboration will see up to half a million John Lewis members rewarded with £5 off a beauty purchase when they bring empty beauty products and packaging from any brand into a shop.  

According to TerraCycle, the global cosmetics sector produces 120 billion units of packaging annually, with very little of this packaging accepted by local recycling schemes. 

Many beauty items are designed to be squeezable, twistable and portable, and often contain caps, labels and pumps, which make them harder to recycle.  

TerraCycle takes empty beauty packaging and separates them into metals, fibres and plastics. Each part is then recycled, composted or in the case of plastics, made into pellets which can be moulded into new items.  

John Lewis & Partners senior sustainability manager Martyn White said: “Our customers are becoming more mindful about what they buy and what happens to products once they’ve reached the end of their first life. Beauty products are notoriously hard to recycle which can make it hard for customers to know what to do with them, which often means they end up being thrown in the bin.  

“One of our key aims is to make ‘being sustainable’ as easy as possible for customers, so it doesn’t have to be a difficult choice. The BeautyCycle trial will help us to do just that, enabling customers to shop and enjoy beauty products in a more sustainable way, ensuring the materials are re-used in the best way possible.” 

TerraCycle Europe general manager Laure Cucuron said: “Very few beauty products or beauty product packaging, outside of say plastic bottles, are accepted by most council kerbside recycling systems due to the complexity of the material. So, we are delighted to be working with John Lewis & Partners to offer their customers the chance to recycle empty beauty products and packaging in John Lewis stores across the UK.” 

This trial lasts for a month, and started on 14 June, with all John Lewis stores with full-line beauty services taking part (36 shops), using TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box solution. 

The trial’s aim is to understand customer demand for beauty recycling, with a wider target to make the scheme permanent if successful.  

BeautyCycle accepts all types of packaging, from shampoo bottles and caps, to lotion bottles and jars, lip gloss and mascara tubes.  

The only packaging not accepted is aerosol cans, nail varnish bottles and fragrance bottles, due to their potential flammability.  

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