Waitrose’s new sustainability scheme serves as a major lesson to all the beauty brands out there

A dedicated refillable zone, the UK’s first supermarket frozen ‘pick and mix’ and first borrow-a-box scheme, are among a series of ideas being looked at in a unique test from Waitrose Partners, which has the potential to save thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging.

In a groundbreaking move, Waitrose recently launched a new scheme enabling customers to come in-store and refill containers, boxes and bottles with product. This scheme is under their new ambition to reduce waste and live more sustainably.

The test is designed to help determine how customers might be prepared to shop differently in the future. The retailer has therefore transformed its Botley Road shop in Oxford and taken hundreds of products out of their packaging.

Sustainability is a super hot topic right now and one we at GLAMOUR HQ staunchly throw our weight behind. If we don’t start changing our habits, soon we will inevitably be facing a planet emergency.

With Waitrose launching this scheme and potentially saving thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging, they set the perfect example for the beauty industry. Perfumes or body washes are particular products that can be easily refilled, however, the number of brands offering the service are few and far between. Mugler and Kilian are one of the few that offer this service and not only is refilling perfume a million times more sustainable, but it’s often significantly cheaper than buying a complete new bottle too.

Foundations, lip glosses, lipsticks, eyeliners and mascaras are just some of the products that can be refilled too. Chanel is one of the mainstream beauty brands that sell refillables for their liquid eyeliners but this is little-known. Guerlain has also jumped on the bandwagon, creating an innovative product, a luxury lipstick case that can be refilled with your choice of lipstick… stylish and sustainable.

Refills are not limited to bottles, however. Eco-friendly brands like Kjaer Weis offer refillable makeup compacts. Instead of buying compact after compact, buying one compact and refilling them with your choice of eyeshadow or blusher is cheaper and more sustainable. This is something that brands like NARS and MAC have been doing for years but nevertheless it’s gained little traction or popularity.

The problem is that buying the refillables doesn’t feel half as exciting as buying a new compact, largely because a compact is perceived as new. Without a doubt, there is something indisputably satisfying about something new but if we don’t start changing our perceptions and attitudes, then the future definitely won’t be as bright as our highlighters.

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