After a successful trial at 50 stores, UK retailer Boots has expanded its Recycle at Boots program to 700 stores across the kingdom.
Last year, during the first stage of the project, more than 500,000 empty containers generally considered ‘hard to recycle’ were dropped off by customers who – according to research – described the scheme as “a brilliant idea”.
Unlike most returns schemes, the Boots UK recycling program gives regular shoppers points on their loyalty card at a rate of 250 for every five containers brought in – that’s the cash equivalent of £2.50 that can be put towards new purchases online or in-store. Caps of one reward per day and eight per month apply, regardless of how many products a consumer deposits.
UK recycling body OPRL describes the ‘Recycle at Boots’ scheme as “the most accessible beauty, health and wellness recycling scheme of its kind in the UK”.
The top three most-recycled containers so far are empty toothpaste tubes, mascara and hand wash bottles, while Colgate, No7 and Boots are the most-recycled brands to date.
“The reaction from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Lucy Reynolds, director of communications and CSR at Boots UK. “We’ve listened to their feedback and as a result are rolling the scheme out further, making it easier than ever for our customers to recycle their empty products that would usually go to landfill.
“From old mascaras and toothpaste tubes to finished lipsticks and empty vitamin pots – customers can feel even better about treating themselves with their Boots Advantage Card points knowing that their products can be recycled.”
The returns process uses Scan2Recycle technology. After being dropped off at stores, the empty containers are sent to Boots’ recycling partner, MYGroup, where they are transformed into new items such as reusable storage containers now in use at Boots warehouses.
For now, not every empty container can be returned in the Boots UK recycling program. For health and safety reasons, the retailer cannot accept aerosol cans, perfume bottles, nail polish bottles, hair dyes, brow and eyelash tints, razors, used PPE, food packaging, blister packs and foils, medical devices, or electrical items such as hairdryers and straighteners.