Sephora Debuts In-Store Recycling Program for Beauty Packaging

Sephora launches Beauty (Re)Purposed recycling program.

Sephora has teamed up with the nonprofit Pact Collective to roll out the Beauty (Re)Purposed recycling program at more than 600 stores across the U.S. and Canada.

The program, which will launch in May 2023, will allow consumers to give hard-to-recycle beauty and wellness packaging waste a second life. Together, the beauty and wellness industries generate 120 billion packages every year, the majority of which end up in landfills because they are either too small, too flexible or made of too many materials to be recycled traditionally.

Sephora customers will now be able to bring those empty product containers, no matter the brand, to any Sephora retail store, although Sephora at Kohl’s locations will not be participating in the program. Once enough volume has been collected, Pact will sell the collected materials to a partner that will turn the material into something else, such as carpet, pallets, asphalt, new packaging or energy.   

“The launch of the Beauty (Re)Purposed program is an exciting step forward in Sephora’s commitment to leading the industry and offering more sustainable solutions for the communities we serve,” said Desta Raines, Director of Sustainability at Sephora in a statement. “The reality is that discarding beauty packaging can be complex for many consumers. It was important for Sephora to find a partner like Pact who shares our values and, in collaboration, can help to educate our clients and the broader industry in making the process more accessible for all.”

The new program will operate alongside Sephora’s longstanding partnership with G2 Revolution, a specialty recycling solutions company, to divert returned, damaged or expired cosmetic product waste from landfills. G2 will now provide support to Beauty (Re)Repurposed with Pact.

“Partnering with a major player like Sephora is a critical step in scaling our collection program and making it more widely available to beauty shoppers,” said Carly Snider, Program Director at Pact in a statement. “Together, we’re excited to take responsibility for beauty’s packaging problem and encourage more sustainable packaging decisions to drive industry-wide change.”

Sephora isn’t the only retailer working to help consumers effectively reduce plastic waste. Other retailers that have recently launched plastic recycling programs include:

  • Petco, which is piloting an in-store recycling program for plastic waste, including used plastic shopping bags, plastic film, can cases and small-bag dog food in 40 stores;
  • The Body Shop has expanded its successful refillables program — which prevented more than half a million plastic bottles from entering the environment in 2022 — to include lipstick, alongside hair care products, shower gels and hand soaps;
  • Saks has partnered with TerraCycle to launch the Saks Beauty Recycling program, which lets shoppers send in empty beauty containers through or drop them at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores across the U.S.; and
  • Three years ago, Nordstrom launched its BeautyCycle recycling program for empty beauty product packaging at all of its full-line stores in the U.S.