Retail in Asia


L’Oréal Hong Kong and Watsons join hands to expand citywide recycling programme

L’Oréal Hong Kong and Watsons, a health and beauty retailer under A.S. Watson Group, are launching the ‘Beauty for the Future’ campaign to accelerate its sustainability endeavours, in partnership with recycling social enterprise V Cycle. The first tripartite collaboration enables local beauty consumers to recycle their empty cosmetics and skincare containers from any brand in all Watsons stores.

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Customers can recycle the cleaned containers of any beauty brand, including foundation bottles, mascara wands, skincare tubs, and lipstick tubes at around 170 Watsons stores across the city in exchange for rewards in the city’s largest loyalty platform MoneyBack. Alternatively, customers can return the empties to L’Oréal Hong Kong’s over 100 free-standing stores and department store counters. Once collected, V Cycle will break down the wastes, separate them by materials, and work with local partners to transform them into new raw materials. The scaled-up campaign goal is to collect 250,000 containers in the 12 months following the official launch.

During the programme’s trial between April to May 2022, L’Oréal Hong Kong and Watsons have collected over 6,300 beauty containers and successfully diverted them from landfills. This programme addresses beauty packaging downstream circularity, where packaging becomes a resource through recycling and composability.

“Pre-loved beauty packages have their place, but that place is not in landfills. Our goal is to meet it head-on with the first cross-brand recycling programme involving 18 of our beauty brands in 2021. Today, we are thrilled to work with partners along the value chain to expand the programme and positively impact people’s lives while preserving the planet,” said Eva Yu, President & Managing Director of L’Oréal Hong Kong. “With the scaled-up recycling campaign as part of our ‘L’Oréal for the Future’ sustainability programme, we want to further inspire and influence how our consumers think and what they do about packaging wastes – not as something to toss out, but as a resource that can be recycled and used again, and sustainably, reducing the impact on our environment. Our partnership with Watsons and V Cycle will help make this a reality,” Yu added.

“To show our deep commitment to building a green future, Watsons has been leading the retail market and working with different strategic partners to drive O+O (Offline plus Online) sustainability progress under the A.S. Watson Greener Stores Global Framework, going green from product development, store design and operations, to logistics and customer engagement,” said Samuel Lee, Managing Director of Watsons Hong Kong. “We have achieved several milestones since our launch of recycling programmes in 2015 and are excited to extend the recycling effort to beauty products with L’Oréal Hong Kong, in order to foster Clean Beauty and reduce waste of beauty packaging, to Look Good, Do Good, Feel Great with our customers.”

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All packages collected through the ‘Beauty for the Future’ programme are sent to V Cycle to be sorted, processed, and eventually restructured for use as raw materials for use in the building industry to promote the sustainable use of resources. After an inaugural year, L’Oréal Hong Kong has saved a total of 2,815 kgs in waste, which is equivalent to 65,148 units of empty beauty containers from ending up in landfills with a promising 86.5 percent recycling rate. Of the collected plastic and glass materials, close to 75 percent have gone on to be made into EcoBricks and have already been paved at some commercial locations in Hong Kong.