Disposal of Products: How Disposal Affects Packaging Decisions

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The disposal process of a product is an important factor in consumer behavior. How products are being disposed of is becoming extremely important to consumers and society in general. Because many environmental problems result from product disposal, companies must take into consideration the end life of their products. Marketers and manufacturers must understand that this is something consumers have become more aware of and something that also drives their purchasing behavior.

In order to appeal to consumers, new and creative disposal incentives are marketed to consumers in order to get them to buy a product. For example, some retailers offer a percentage off your purchase for recycling an old item of clothing.

Products are also being manufactured with a “less is more” state of mind. Some products are packaged with less material to make the disposal process less harmful on the environment. Other packaging is made with recycled materials and less chemicals.

The ease of product disposal is now a key product attribute to consumers. - Vanessa

MAC Cosmetics and Lush Packaging Programs 
Today, many companies have been conscious of how their products interact with the environment and are always trying to find new, innovative ways to be sustainable and have a low impact on the environment. Specifically, MAC Cosmetics has developed a program “Back to MAC” where consumers can bring in their primary make-up packaging (6x) in exchange for a free MAC lipstick. This is a great program that not only positively affects the environment but encourages consumers to do the same. In addition to MAC, Lush (fresh handmade cosmetics) is another company committed to the environment and becoming a more sustainable company. Lush has developed a packaging strategy called “We Love it Naked,” where consumers are encouraged to go completely naked specific to products that do not require any packaging at all, for example their bar soap. If consumers were “to go naked” all the time they could save up to 30 plastic bottles a year from entering a landfill. However, they are aware that as a business no packaging is impossible, therefore when they do use packaging, they prefer it to be from recycled materials. Lush and MAC are two companies striving for sustainability and by developing programs such as “We Love it Naked” and Back to MAC are great ways to encourage consumers to be aware of their impact on the environment as well. - Chelsea

Sources: M.A.C Lush

  More Eco-friendly Beauty Brands

  • Josie Maran Cosmetics:
    • Founded by former model, Josie Maran, her eco-friendly cosmetics brand was inspired by her upbringing. Her father was a green builder and her grandmother was a human rights activist/professor at UC Berkeley. She dedicates her skincare line to natural/gentle ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.
    • Packaging: Josie Maran Cosmetics are packaged in recyclable glass, aluminum, paper and plastic; several of their products use biodegradeable materials also. “30% of the outer carbon packaging” is made from post consumer waste.
  • Korres:
    • Originally a pharmacy chain from Greece, due to its highly successful products, the brand expanded internationally.
    • Packaging: Korres’ Eco-conscious policy ensures that all of its packaging is recyclable. The brand works to reduce their carbon footprint by optimizing production so that materials needed are minimal, use steam generated heat rather than electrical, and any herbs or plants they use are  guaranteed pesticide free.

  • Tarte Cosmetics:
    • Described as “high powered natural” cosmetics mixed with glamour.
    • Packaging: Customers can participate in their recycling program where anyone can send finished or empty bottles/ pans back and they will give you 15% off your next purchase (this applies to several specific products but not all). Products use post consumer recyclables, biodegradable material, or they are refillable. 

 - Ashley

Upcycling: PUMA

In 2013, sportswear giant PUMA joined the fight to minimize the impact of clothing manufacturing/disposal through the launch of its Bring Me Back program and InCycle line of products. These programs combine recycling and sustainable manufacturing techniques to reduce the overall environmental impact of PUMA’s products, as well allow consumers to dispose of their unwanted apparel responsibly.

PUMA’s Bring Me Back program

To launch the Bring Me Back program, PUMA partnered with international recycling company I:CO, which processes more than 500 tons of clothing and shoes worldwide every day. PUMA stores now have collection boxes where customers can drop off old clothing, shoes, and bags for recycling. These drop boxes are not just for PUMA goods – customers can drop off unwanted wardrobe items, regardless of the brand. After being dropped off, these items are sent to I:CO facilities for processing. Clothes that are still wearable are sent to secondhand stores, while the materials from non-wearable items are recovered and upcycled.

Bring Me Back also includes an online social element, which allows participants of the program to upload a photo and write a short obituary of their recently contributed items.

PUMA’s InCycle collection

PUMA also launched a line of eco-friendly clothes to partner its recycling efforts. The InCycle collection – which includes shoes, clothing and bags – is made from sustainable sourced materials that are designed to be environment-friendly from production to disposal. The InCycle track jacket is made from 100% recycled polyester and is designed to make upcycling as easy as possible. The product line also uses organic cotton, and many of the products also incorporate biodegradable fibers that can be safely composted.
- Leo 

Other Brands and Retailers Collaborating with I:CO
I: Collect (I: CO), global textile recycling organization, has partnered with over 60 brand and retailers to collect and recycle donated clothes, shoes, and textiles in over 50 countries worldwide. The most recent partnership occurred with American Eagle back in early June of this year. For this specific partnership, customers that drop off unwanted clothing and shoes are rewarded with a text code for a $5 discount on a pair of AE jeans to be purchased that very same day.  This recent partnership has shortly become one of I: CO’s largest North American partnerships. Some of the other brand partners include: H & M, Levi Strauss & Co., Puma, Forever 21, and Footlocker.

I: CO’s main objective is to incorporate 100% of the clothing, shoes, and textiles collected into a recycle process by the year 2020. Currently, I:CO has been able to integrate 30% of the collected items into a recycling system. Such collected items serve many uses: cushioning and filling, flooring, key rings, protective packaging, pellets, etc. So far the organization has been successful at creating an impact in the recycling and upcycling markets.
- Sandy

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