Imagine shopping in two years from now for anything from your favourite nut milk to face cleanser and struggling to see products on the shelves housed in plastic packaging. Futuristic perhaps, but it may arrive in a store near you sooner than you think if pioneering entrepreneur Jo Chidley, the founder of sustainable, natural personal care brand Beauty Kitchen, has her way. Jo’s latest venture ReRe, an ambitious ‘refill, return, repeat’ scheme, is tackling the seemingly impossible by championing a far-reaching reuse revolution.
Join Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier as she interviews Jo Chidley, a circular economy expert, chemist, herbal botanist, and co-founder of Beauty Kitchen, the highest-scoring B Corp in the UK beauty industry. This episode shows just how the power of the collective – manufacturers, retailers and consumers – can drive a truly circular economy in packaging.
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Jo and co-founder Stuart Chidley set up ReRe not only to implement cradle-to-cradle design into Beauty Kitchen’s own products, but also as the world’s first closed-loop solution for packaging through its ground-breaking Re programme and refill stations.
Already counting some of the UK’s biggest retailers like Asda, Marks & Spencer and Holland & Barrett as participating partners, ReRe is on a mission to change the way brands create packaging and bottle goods, how retailers sell almost anything, and how consumers shop.@FormulaBotanica podcast talks to Jo Chidley @Beauty Kitchen about her mission to see single-use plastic gone and reusable, refillable packaging the norm. #BeautyKitchen #ReRe #JoChidley Click To Tweet
In this episode on a ‘refill, return, repeat’ scheme, you will hear:
- How in the UK, over 95% of beauty packaging is thrown away after just one use. The packaging industry still operates a traditional linear ‘take, make and waste’ model rather than embracing circularity and sustainability. Jo Chidley saw this disconnect and through ReRe is creating solutions to change how we conceive of packaging.
- Personal care giant Unilever states that some 48% of its emissions come from its packaging. With statistics like this, it is clear there needs to be a complete rethink of packaging design away from single-use and brand-specific to multi-use, reusable and standardised options that can remain in circulation for years to come.
- ReRe’s model is based on the ‘bottle’ – a container in glass, aluminium or steel – that is leased by a brand and kept in circulation through in-store and online return and refill schemes.
- The key to a successful ‘refill, return, repeat’ model of packaging is its accessibility and convenience for the consumer. Price in fact proves less of a barrier to persuading people to use ReRe.
Key takeouts include:
- If a brand uses reusable packaging, its emissions are reduced immediately and by a sizeable amount. Reusable packaging has the ability to reduce emissions between 30-70% on average in fast-moving consumer goods sectors.
- ReRe’s vision is to disrupt the monoculture of plastic packaging. To do this, you need a totally different infrastructure capable of allowing efficient returns and refilling as well as for the hygienic cleaning of bottles. Jo and her team considered these barriers as excuses for inaction. There are solutions if there is the willpower to create them.
- ReRe sees consumers depositing their empties and picking up a new product in a cleaned, reused bottle. Digital technology allows each bottle to be tracked and traced in the refill scheme. The ReRe system knows what product a bottle is filled with and how a bottle needs to be cleaned.
- At the moment, just one per cent of packaging is reusable, and so the sector is still niche. Jo advocates for knowledge sharing across borders and industries to help drive reusables and see global action to enshrine circularity in packaging.
Meet our guest
Jo Chidley is a circular economy expert, chemist, herbal botanist, and co-founder of Beauty Kitchen, the highest scoring B Corp in the UK beauty industry. Founded in 2014, Jo has set out to change the face of the beauty industry by creating the most effective, natural, and sustainable beauty products in the world.
Widely regarded as one of the pioneers of sustainable beauty, Jo is championing a reuse revolution through sustainable innovation by implementing cradle-to-cradle design into Beauty Kitchen’s circular approach. Among her achievements and award accolades, Jo has been instrumental in developing the world’s first closed-loop solution for beauty packaging and has powered the service behind the ground-breaking Re programme & refill scheme. Thanks to her leadership, Beauty Kitchen is recognised on the UK’s 50 Most Disruptive Companies list and Jo has won numerous industry awards, including ‘Who’s Who in Natural Beauty’.
See also our previous episode with Jo Chidley:
Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed listening, please share, subscribe and review this episode on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.