Global Plastic Policy Reviews

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When referring to any of the results of our analysis and/or its concept and design, please cite us accordingly:
Global Plastics Policy Centre (2022) March A., Salam, S., Evans, T., Hilton, J., Fletcher, S. (editors). Global Plastics Policy Review. Revolution Plastics, University of Portsmouth.

Lush Cosmetics Environmental Policy

View the policy document
Contribution to reducing plastic pollution:
Effectiveness of meeting own objectives:
Strength of evidence: Limited Available Evidence
Reviewed under framework: Yes

Since their formulation, Lush have been committed to decreasing the amount of packaging used in their products by finding creative solutions. As a brand focused on sustainability, Lush’s Environmental Policy addresses provision, packaging and recapture of plastic cosmetic items. It has a strong commitment to reaching a fully circular business approach. This policy commits Lush to only using recycled plastic, operating a deposit return scheme, and aiming to eliminate all packaging where possible. It has been regarded as a successful policy, having met the objective of reducing plastic in packaging, and has successfully mainstreamed innovative approaches to plastic reduction.

Lush’s success stems from the fact that a commitment to sustainability has been incorporated into every element of the product lifecycle. Products can be ‘naked,’ meaning sold without packaging, gift items are often sold wrapped in fabric. Where plastic is unavoidable, a long-standing and well-incentivised deposit return scheme is used. This has facilitated a nearly closed loop of plastic, whereby the returned containers are either recycled or used again. This commitment to sustainability is strongly associated with Lush’s brand identity, and as a result has a loyal consumer base.

This policy is successful in a number of ways:

  • 65% of items are ‘naked,’ meaning that they are sold entirely without packaging – this range of products is constantly expanding.
  • 90%, by weight, of our packaging material is recycled.
  • Where plastic is used, pots and bottles are made with 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.
  • At the time of writing, 575k black pots had been returned to store as part of the in-store deposit return scheme.
  • Lush have opened a limited number of packaging free shops.

From this, a number of lessons can be learned when considering implementing a business policy:

  • Product redesign can be creative and holistic, and can be used to remove phase plastic entirely rather than increasing recycled content.
  • Strong consumer awareness initiatives supported the sale of new and innovative product types which did not use plastic.
  • Plastic initiatives are considered and reported on holistically with climate commitments.
  • The deposit return scheme is successful as it is undertaken in-house using Lush owned. infrastructure, and facilitates a nearly closed loop of plastic in store. The use of the deposit return scheme is high due to good incentives.

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We are confident in our research, however, not all evidence is made publicly available which may affect the outcome of the reviews. Let us know if you have research or evidence that can contribute to our analysis, or a policy you think would be valuable to review!

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Our methods

Through an analytical framework, we've reviewed over 100 plastic policies. These reviews determine the effectiveness of policies in reducing plastic pollution and we offer recommendations in light of this evidence, to enhance future policy making. You can find out more about our methods on our methods page.

Methods

Guidance

In light of our findings, we've created targeted guidance for Policy Makers, Citizens and Businesses.

Think we've missed something?

We are confident in our research, however, not all evidence is made publicly available which may affect the outcome of the reviews. Let us know if you have research or evidence that can contribute to our analysis, or a policy you think would be valuable to review!

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