The Body Shop tackles the invisible side of plastic

More and more brands are pledging to make their offerings more sustainable. The Body Shop is one of those brands, having launched a fair trade recycled plastic scheme this year.

The initiative highlights the lesser-known, human side of the plastic crisis, the brand explains. Teaming up with an organisation in India called Plastics For Change, The Body Shop wants to tackle more than plastic pollution, but drive social change and help empower people too.

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Over three billion people live without formal waste management – almost half the world’s population – resulting in an informal waste picking industry. Marginalised people, including 1.5 million waste pickers in India, pick untreated waste that would otherwise enter waterways in appalling conditions to try and make a living. Most of them face harassment, late payments, health issues and no respect from society.

The Body Shop is taking the first step to change this culture by taking the abundance of recyclable plastic that already exists and using it in their bottles, starting with the 250ml haircare bottles. The 100% recycled plastic bottles (excluding the bottle caps) use 15% of Community Trade plastic, with the remainder coming from European sources, but the brand is set to increase the amount of Community Trade plastic over time.

In return, waste pickers will receive a fair price for their work, a reliable income and access to better working conditions. On top of this, they will also get help in accessing services such as education, financial loans and healthcare services.

The Body Shop Global Community Trade Manager explains that this move will not only help waste pickers but also “champion plastic as a valuable, renewable resource when used responsibly.”