Gillette launches nationwide razor recycling scheme

Razor brand Gillette has launched what it claims is the UK's first nationwide recycling scheme for razors and blades, as part of a partnership with recycling firm TerraCycle.

Razors and blades from any brand will be accepted for recycling

Razors and blades from any brand will be accepted for recycling

Under the initiative, customers will be encouraged to enter their details online in order to receive a special envelope for their used razors and blades. They can then post the filled envelope to TerraCycle for free.

Once at the TerraCycle facility, the razors will be broken down and separated into plastics and metals. Plastics will be cleaned, melted and formed into pellets ready for inclusion in new products, while metals will be sent for smelting into new alloys. Such alloys are commonly used to make products for the transport and technology sectors.

Customers will need to be 18 or over to use the service, with each customer limited to four envelopes per year. Each envelope can hold up to 16 products and, crucially, TerraCycle will accept razors and blades from all brands sold in the UK. 

“As the world’s leading razor brand, we saw that it was our responsibility to ensure that we are coming up with sustainable innovations and solutions to the industry,” Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) brand manager for Gillette and Gillette Venus UK, Matt Thomas, said.

“We are very excited about the partnership with TerraCycle and the opportunity to offer our customers 100% recyclability of Gillette products, across the UK.”

edie’s content editor Matt Mace recently spoke to P&G’s principal scientist and packaging technologist, Gian De Belder, to take a more in-depth look at its plastics strategy. You can read that piece by clicking here.

Reign of Terra

The partnership with Gillette is one of many which TerraCycle has formed with UK businesses in the past year, as the firm strives to achieve its vision of “eliminating the idea of waste”.

Other businesses to have launched TerraCycle-enabled take-back schemes in recent months include Mars PetcareColgate PalmoliveKellogg, Acuvue, Hovis and Ella’s Kitchen.

TerraCycle is also working with Pepsico subsidiary Walkers to run the UK’s first nationwide collection scheme for crisp packets, which collected more than 500,000 packets between December 2018 and March 2019.

However, amid concerns that just 9% of all plastics produced globally to date have been recycled, which have been compounded by research suggesting that global plastics production is set to increase rapidly, TerraCycle has also begun making forays into the reuse and refill space.

The firm used its platform at January’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to unveil Loop – a waste-free' retail platform, whereby businesses provide product refills while retaining ownership of their reusable packaging.  Early supporters of the platform's initial launch in New York and Paris include Unilever, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Colgate Palmolive, with Tesco set to spearhead a UK launch this autumn. 

TerraCycle’s general manager for Europe Laure Cucuron recently told edie that the company has never believed that recycling and the use of recycled content alone can fully close the loop on global streams of aluminium and plastics.

Sarah George



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