PZ Cussons launches hand wash refills to slash plastics packaging

Healthcare and consumer goods giant PZ Cussons has launched its first hand wash refill offering, as it strives to reduce the amount of plastics used in its packaging by 25% by 2025.

PZ Cussons launches hand wash refills to slash plastics packaging

TerraCycle has partnered with PZ Cussons to develop a recycling scheme for the refill pouches. 

Sold under PZ Cussons’ Carex brand, the refill offering consists of a flexible plastic pouch which can be used to top up rigid plastic hand wash bottles.

Carex claims that the refill pouches use up to 85% less plastic, by weight, than purchasing a new hand wash bottle complete with a pump.

However, given that the new hand wash pouches are not currently collected through domestic kerbside recycling collections by most UK local authorities, Carex has partnered with recycling firm TerraCycle to host a take-back scheme for the packaging.

Consumers will be able to deposit their used hand wash refill pouches and used hand wash pumps at public collection points. Such points are typically hosted at locations such as offices, schools, retail parks and community centres.

Once deposited, the packaging is sent to TerraCycle, whose recycling method involves washing, separating and shredding the items before melting them and forming them into plastic pellets. The pellets are then remoulded for inclusion in new plastic products such as outdoor furniture and fence posts.

As for the metal springs from the pumps, they will be smelted for re-use as new small metal products.

In order to incentivise the use of the collection points, Carex has launched a digital rewards scheme which offers members 100 TerraCycle points for every kilogram of packaging collected. The points can be redeemed for a donation to the member’s chosen charity or school.

“As awareness of the global plastics issue grows, we believe that Carex customers shouldn’t have to worry about the environmental impact of their hand wash – so we are taking many steps to reduce our use of plastic,” Carex’s global head of brand Ian Henderson said.

“The Carex Recycling Programme a is free and simple way for everyone to recycle their plastic pumps and refill pouches as easily as possible while at the same time raising funds for good causes.”

The scheme will be active across Carex’s entire UK market and will accept packaging from all brands. It builds on PZ Cussons’ portfolio-wide commitments to reduce its plastic use by a quarter, ensure that any plastic it does use is 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable and source 30% of its plastic packaging from recycled materials by 2025.

Refill revolution

Given that only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled – and with 82% of UK shoppers now stating that the amount of plastic packaging produced by companies needs to be “drastically reduced” – Carex is one of several consumer goods brands upping their stakes in the refill space.

Unilever recently launched a refill option for its Cif Kitchen Power & Shine and Bathroom Power & Shine, for example. This format consists of a pod containing 10x concentrate and purports to use 75% less plastic, by weight, than traditional trigger-pull bottles.

Elsewhere in the health and beauty sector, plastic-free offerings have been the result of much of Lush’s growth in recent times.  The retailer opened its first plastic-free shop in the UK in January, following the success of its ‘naked’ stores in Germany and Italy. Similarly, The Body Shop this year opened what is currently its only plastic-free refill station in the UK at its refurbished Bond Street store.

Drinks giants such as Evian and Coca-Cola are also upping their investments in refill offerings, as ever more businesses and local authorities in the UK add water refill stations to their estates as part of City to Sea’s Refill campaign.

Sarah George

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