Origins is hoping to change the look of landfills with a recycling program it will kick off April 2.

This story first appeared in the March 17, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

That’s when the brand will begin accepting any and all cosmetics packaging — tubes, bottle, caps, jars and compacts among them — for recycling, both in its stores and at its department store counters. The program, dubbed Return to Origins, will be a permanent one in the brand’s 450 freestanding and department store doors, said Jane Lauder, senior vice president and general manager of Origins.

Lauder noted that consumer goods packaging, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, currently accounts for about one-third of all landfill waste.

“Being green is such an important part of our platform, as is being cognizant of the environment — we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can,” she said, adding that the brand’s corporate parent, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., is also working with its stable of brands to increase environmental efficiency, including Aveda’s wind-powered plans and MAC Cosmetics’ Back to MAC package recycling program.

She noted that it is also a service for consumers who want to be more green, but aren’t sure where to start. “Depending on where you live, it’s not always clear where and what you can recycle,” said Lauder. “We want to take the guesswork out of it, and we want to take this program industry-wide.” As an added incentive at the program’s kick-off, customers will receive a deluxe sample from brand’s A Perfect World collection for bringing in their packaging for recycling.

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The items which can’t be recycled will be transformed into energy, such as steam heat for buildings, explained John Delfausse, vice president of global package development for Aveda, Clinique and Origins, as well as chief environmental officer for Estée Lauder corporate packaging.

“Waste-to-energy facilities produce clean, renewable energy through the combustion of municipal solid waste in specially designed power plants equipped with the most modern pollution control equipment to clean emissions,” he said. “Today’s waste-to-energy plants are highly efficient power plants that utilize municipal solid waste as their fuel rather than coal, oil or natural gas.”

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