By Matt Kopac, Manager of Sustainable Business & Innovation
According to the United Nations, only 9 percent of the more than 400 million tons of plastic waste produced in the world every year gets recycled.
Even plastic bottles, which have the highest recycling rates of any plastic packaging in the U.S., are only recycled at a rate of around 30 percent.
Burt’s Bees has long been concerned about packaging waste and has taken strides over the years to work towards a solution to this global challenge.
Introducing Recycle On Us
One step that Burt’s Bees has taken to address the issue is partnering with TerraCycle to launch Recycle On Us™, a free recycle-by-mail program that makes it simple to recycle your Burt’s Bees packaging. And we’ve added a donation reward to the program as a thank you for recycling.
Here’s how the Recycle On Us program works:
- Any individual, office, school or community organization can sign up for the program on the Burt’s Bees or TerraCycle website
- Place empty Burt’s Bees packaging into a mailing envelope
- Apply the prepaid shipping label provided by Burt’s Bees and TerraCycle
- Every shipment of recyclables weighing over 1 lb. earns $1 you can donate to the nonprofit, school or charitable organization of your choice
So what do we do with the empty packaging we get?
TerraCycle, a global expert in collecting and repurposing waste streams, cleans the packaging and melts it down to make the plastics available as an input into new recycled products packaging or products. Instead of going to landfill, the materials have another life.
Proud to serve the greater good
For over 30 years, Burt’s Bees has been committed to protecting nature in how we manufacture our products and run our business.
Building on our founders’ example, Burt’s Bees launched a Sustainable Packaging Standard in 2007 to guide our packaging choices and ensure that we continue to lead in sustainability. We also worked hard to eliminate waste from our operations.
With these internal priorities in place, we’ve had some successes. For example, our plastic, primary packaging containers (i.e. tubes, bottles and sticks) now average 51 percent post-consumer recycled content. And we haven’t sent any waste to landfill since 2010.
Yet recycling remains a challenge for our industry. We have taken strides over the years to use readily recyclable materials in our packaging rather than mixed materials which often inhibit recycling. Nevertheless, recycling infrastructure and materials markets are often not sufficiently developed to collect small beauty and personal care packaging. In addition, policy changes internationally have reduced the demand for recycled plastics, further hampering recycling markets in the U.S.
As a result, TerraCycle has been an important partner for us to give consumers the ability to recycle our packaging.
With Recycle On Us, it doesn’t matter if your city or town doesn’t recycle certain kinds of plastics or packaging types because you can recycle all Burt’s Bees packaging easily from anywhere in the U.S.
We are excited that through this partnership, every piece of Burt’s Bees packaging can have a second life.
For more info…
To learn more about the Burt’s Bees Recycle On Us Program, please visit www.burtsbees.com/recycleonus. To learn more about TerraCycle and sign up for the program, please visit: www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/burt-s-bees-recycle-on-us.