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Cosmetics packaging reuse: deposit system under study

Nine major beauty brands (L'Oréal, Chanel parfums beauté, Pierre Fabre, Laboratoires SVR, Yves Rocher, Clarins, Melvita, La Rosée, Aromazone) and two distributors (Nocibé and Sephora) have joined forces under the aegis of Circul'R, a circular economy consulting and training company, to implement a deposit-refund scheme for packaging.

Launched with the support of sustainable development consultancy We Don't Need Roads (WDNR) and Citeo's reuse fund, this coalition aims to launch a pilot deposit scheme on point-of-sale skincare products by the end of 2024. The project is headed by Arnaud Lancelot (Director of Reinvention at WDNR and former founder of cosmetics company Cozie). " In founding Cozie, I had the opportunity to tackle all the operational complexities involved in setting up a deposit network. This experience will enable me to share valuable lessons with coalition participants, particularly on aspects such as product and packaging selection, efficient supply chain management for bottle collection, and the technicality required in the washing and traceability processes. These are all essential elements in the successful implementation of an efficient deposit system.explains Arnaud Lancelot.

Circul'R points out that the deposit for reuse model offers significant advantages for the cosmetics industry on three levels: environmental, regulatory and for consumers.

From an environmental point of view, deposits for reuse help to reduce the use of single-use packaging and cut CO2 emissions.

On the regulatory front, France's Agec law sets a target of no more single-use plastic packaging on the market by 2040. Intermediate targets are specified by decree, requiring 7 % of packaging to be reused by 2025, and 10 % by 2027. A draft European regulation scheduled for 2025 also aims to encourage the adoption of reuse models, notably deposits.

As far as consumers are concerned, a recent study reveals that 88 % of French people have adopted reuse practices, and that 94 % say they are ready to switch to reusing their shampoo bottles.

"The deposit model for cosmetics remains largely unexplored in France, if not non-existent. Our ambition is to develop it, and doing so in coalition is an essential strategy, says Jules Coignard, co-founder of Circul'R. Indeed, the pooling of flows enables substantial cost reductions, both economically and environmentally. This collective dynamic also facilitates the commitment of washers and consumers, thanks to a harmonized pathway and standards between the different brands. Finally, the fact that the coalition's members include major industry players strengthens our power of conviction with public institutions, thereby contributing to a positive evolution of the deposit model in France."

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