This Beauty Brand is Now Plastic Negative - How Is That Possible?
The repurposing and zero waste beauty brand, UpCircle, is officially Plastic Negative. Here’s how they achieved it.
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Not only is UpCircle zero waste but it's also now Plastic Negative.
UpCircle repurposes surplus ingredients from various industries, including the coffee and wood industries, but here’s how they hit this Plastic Negative milestone.
Becoming plastic negative
It started with UpCircle’s Return, Refill, Reuse scheme which launched in 2021.
This innovative action around sustainable packaging saved over 9,000 pieces of packaging.
Zero waste beauty brand UpCircle have now taken this further by partnering with rePurpose Global to remove more plastic than they create in their business.
Their efforts have paid off as the beauty brand is now officially a certified Plastic Negative Brand.
UpCircle was founded in 2016 on the grounds that there is value in things that already exist.
They have repurposed hundreds of tonnes of leftover ingredients and saved thousands of pieces of packaging.
Co-founder, Anna Brightman, says:
“As a business we have always been committed to reducing our plastic use wherever possible, for example, we recently repackaged our signature coffee scrubs into glass jars with aluminium lids.
“As the next step it was a no-brainer to actively remove plastic from the environment.”
UpCircle’s partnership with rePurpose Global has enabled the brand to support a project to remove multi-layered plastic overseas.
Tackling plastic pollution
Known as ‘Project Saaf Samudra’, meaning ‘clean sea’ in Hindi, UpCircle provides funds to help clean up the Goan coastline in India and gather cheap plastic that washes up there.
Multi-layered plastic is low-value and can’t be recycled in India.
It’s a type of plastic that has a recovery rate of less than 5%, making the work of rePurpose valuable.
How UpCircle has gone Plastic Negative
Once it’s recovered from Goa’s coastline, the plastic gets compressed into blocks that go to a co-processing centre.
It is then turned into minerals and energy that can be repurposed.
This includes replacing the use of coal and fossil fuels, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
The process is completely zero-waste and has saved around 2,000kg of plastic from ending up in the Arabian Sea.
What’s more is UpCircle’s work also tackles the problems facing the waste-workers in Goa.
“Waste-workers often have no access to healthcare, secure pay or formal workplaces. UpCircle and rePurpose Global are changing that for the fifteen workers at Project Saaf Samudra in Goa.”
The waste-workers involved benefit from a fair wage, economic and healthcare benefits, and access to a safe and inclusive workplace.
This isn’t the only exciting thing to come from UpCircle, as they continue to work towards being as sustainable as possible.
UpCircle is playing an active role in fighting plastic pollution through their work, and Anna is thrilled with their progress.
“It wasn’t enough to become just plastic neutral or ‘offset’ our plastic, we had to go a step further and become Plastic Negative.”