British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has collaborated with beauty recycling expert Handle Recycling to introduce a ‘Beauty Takeback Scheme’ for recycling beauty packaging empties.

The scheme will be launched across 40 stores in the UK.

It will allow the customers to deposit their hard-to-recycle beauty packaging materials and components that would otherwise end up in landfill.

The collected empties will be then recycled and turned into new packaging and products.

M&S’ head for environmental, social, and governance Carmel McQuaid said: “Plastic is one of the biggest challenges facing the beauty industry and whilst there is still lots more to do, we hope this scheme encourages customers to recycle their beauty empties to give them a second life and reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfill.

“Alongside our other schemes, including ‘Shwopping’ and plastic take back, it’s one of the many ways we’re driving the circular economy on our roadmap to net zero.”

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From this month onwards, all M&S customers can utilise the scheme to return their plastic or aluminium beauty packaging, which can be of any form, including bottles, tubes, caps, pumps or tubs. The empties can be from any retailer brand.

Customers can visit the stores’ beauty section where dedicated boxes have been installed for dropping off their used beauty packaging.

M&S estimates that the scheme will allow it to collect more than two tonnes of beauty packaging empties within the first year of its launch.

The initiative will further contribute to the circular economy by reusing collected and recycled packaging to make new products.

Handle co-founder Tom Murgatroyd said: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with M&S, our mission is to reduce the environmental impact of beauty packaging and this partnership helps to elevate awareness and action toward this mission to the next level.”

Handle is a recycling company that helps retailers, brands and manufacturers in choosing better end-of-life alternatives for their beauty packaging, including for lids, tubes, pumps, as well as sachets and pipettes that are not included in mainstream municipal recycling processes in the country.