Pacifica, one of the pioneers in vegan and cruelty-free beauty, is taking its commitment to sustainability to the next level. The brand, sold in retailers including Target, Ulta Beauty and Whole Foods, just launched an upcycling program on its web site in collaboration with Preserve.
The beauty industry, according to Pacifica’s founder Brook Harvey-Taylor is a major producer of excess packaging that yields mounds of waste. “You can see it in big plastic palettes. There’s so much garbage for the amount of products you are putting into those pieces.” Environmentally friendly packaging was one of the main topics at Cosmoprof North America last month as both retailers and brands were on a quest for ways to curb waste.
Compounding the matter, people often recycle from their kitchen, but few recycle from their bathrooms. “There are a lot of products people could be recycling,” she said. Substantiating her claim of excess waste in beauty is a report from Johnson & Johnson, noting that seven out of 10 Americans say they always or almost always recycle, only one in five consistently did so with bathroom items.
Hoping to improve those statistics, Pacifica teamed with a company called Preserve that uses recycled number-five plastic to give products a new life as razors and toothbrushes — two of the most used and tossed personal-care items.
Pacifica sends its users a pre-paid shipping label for consumers to send old Pacifica products to Preserve who will upcycle them into razors or toothbrushes. Pacifica users receive points for the products they recycle that can be used on the web site to buy products, Preserve razors or toothbrushes. The program encompasses Pacifica tubes made with number-five plastic.
Sustainability has been at the core of Pacifica since the brand was founded in 1997. “We are constantly thinking about our impact as a brand,” Harvey-Taylor said. “Our number-one value is compassion, for humans, animals and the planet. For us, recycling and being mindful of the waste we create is part of this.”
When Pacifica launched its color cosmetics collection five years ago, the brand started making all recyclable paper pallets. Other steps Harvey-Taylor has taken to encourage recycling is that her fragrances have sprayers that screw off as opposed to those that are clamped on and generally render the product non-recyclable. Additionally, most Pacifica boxes are created using FSC paper. “We are always thinking of how we can use less plastic. By 2020, we are aiming to use at least 50 percent PCR [post-consumer recycled] in our number-five plastic tubes,” Harvey-Taylor said. Most of these products will still be eligible for the brand’s recycling program or curbside recycling.
“People are coming around and thinking about recycling more. Our consumer, who is primarily Millennial, already knows and is thinking about recycling and questioning ways to reduce plastic in the ocean. Brands, with the exception of Pacifica and some others, are behind the consumer. We’re pushing the industry to catch up,” she said.
Pacifica has undergone strong growth over the past year, she added, up in major accounts between 60 percent and 100 percent over the year before. Target extended its Pacifica range to include cosmetics this year. The brand also launched its first-ever cross-category collection of crystal-infused skin, hair, cosmetics, body and fragrance products exclusively at Ulta Beauty.