Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Origins~ It pays to recycle

To encourage recycling, skincare brand Origins is offering customers a special deal.

TAKING care of how you look should not come at the expense of the planet’s vitality. But how often do you find yourself not knowing what to do with the small containers of beauty products that you’ve just emptied?

Some may try to squeeze them among other plastic bottles for recycling but it’s not entirely certain that they would be recycled.

It’s thus timely that American skincare brand Origins commemorates Earth Day on April 22 with an in-store recycling programme that encourages the return of used skincare containers. Hopefully, this will inspire other companies to follow suit and turn the exercise into a permanent take-back policy for manufacturers.

Origins Malaysia retail operations manager Joyce Teh says that from April 1, for every cosmetic and skincare container (regardless of brand) brought in to the Origins stores at The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur and Queensbay Mall, Penang, Origins will reciprocate with a skincare or body care sample.

“Anyone who brings in five used Origins containers at any one time will take home an Origins trial kit. The public is advised to start saving up their cosmetics containers. As we feel commitment to the environment should not be a one-time effort, the recycling programme will run for a year until the next Earth Day,” says Teh, adding that its impact will be assessed to determine the continuation of the project.

Currently, the recycling effort is restricted to only two locations due to a lack of space at its counters in department stores but Teh said the company hopes to extend the effort to all Origins counters and stores soon.

The brand, Teh adds, is working with a private contractor to separate and recycle the empty containers.

Customers are also encouraged to make a pledge to protect the environment by filling up a pledge card and then, hanging it up on the tree in the store. On Earth Day, five pledges will be selected and offered a prize. The winners will be announced on Facebook (Origins Malaysia).

Supporting a good cause

The brand is also supporting the Malaysian Nature Society’s nature club in schools (Kelab Pencinta Alam) as it believes that environmental education is vital in shaping a green mindset among young Malaysians. The initiative is a collaboration between MNS and the Education Ministry for the past 15 years.

To raise funds for the clubs, Origins will sell 1,000 pieces of the organic cotton bags (RM36 each).

Teh says the machine-washable bags, sourced from its headquarters in the United States, can be carried in larger handbags to make it easier for shoppers to use them instead of plastic bags.

When asked if the brand has considered sourcing the bags locally to reduce the carbon footprint of the campaign, Teh explains that producing the small quantity locally would mean higher costs. She reasons that the carbon footprint of shipping the bags from the States is negligible as they were shipped together with the skincare products.

Under the Origins Earth Initiative, the skincare business that started in 1990 and sold in 30 countries, is mindful of its ecological footprint. Its manufacturing facilities have instituted Environmental Management Systems to improve its environmental performance and reduce adverse environmental impacts over time. Its packaging uses certified sustainably produced paper, and 50% post-consumer recycled fibre and soy-based printing inks.


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