Close the loop, Myer, to test product stewardship for cosmetics

Steve Morris, Founder of Close the Loop and Elsie Fulton, Cosmetic Specialist at Close the Loop.

Close the Loop Limited, a provider of end-to-end solutions from design and manufacture to product collection and recycling, is conducting a cosmetic product stewardship trial.

In partnership with Myer and with guidance from industry umbrella organization Accord, the trial will explore new ways of recycling cosmetics to reduce the estimated 5,000 to 11,500 tonnes of cosmetics packaging currently going to landfill in Australia each year.

Consumers can bring their used cosmetic items of any brand to collection points at 12 participating Myer stores.

The pilot project received grants from the Australian Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund and will run for an initial eight weeks to 16 September 2022. It will inform the feasibility of future ongoing product stewardship programs for cosmetics. Products collected during the program are sorted into eight categories and processed by Close the Loop to be recycled or remanufactured into new products.

Hard and soft plastics are shredded and used in Close the Loop’s TonerPlas, an award-winning asphalt additive that uses waste plastic and toner from old printer cartridges to build roads. The plastics are also used in the company’s Resin8 concrete additive. Metals are separated and sent to a metal recycling plant, and glass is crushed to be used as a substitute for sand in building materials for the construction industry.

Materials that cannot be processed are used to fuel a low-carbon cement kiln to ensure no collected products go to landfill.

Joe Foster, chief executive officer of Close the Loop Group, said cosmetics packaging has traditionally been a complex waste stream — often made up of plastics, glass, metals, foils, rubber, natural fibers, mirrors, foam, paper and by-products.

“This partnership between the Australian Government, industry and sector can pave the way for the global cosmetics industry to become much more sustainable. It’s a great example of what can be achieved when all stakeholders work together to enable end-of-life products to be efficiently collected and then recycled or reprocessed into other products – a true circular economy in action,” he said.

“The start of the trial comes very timely as the Australian government’s second round of plastic export bans has just come into effect. The ban means it is now illegal for companies and organizations in Australia to export mixed plastic waste. It is expected that more recyclable materials will end up in landfill each year if product stewardship and industry-led initiatives like these are not implemented quickly.”

Participating locations can be found at: or via the Recycle Mate app by photographing a cosmetic item or typing in the item name. The Australian government-funded Recycle Mate app is helping demystify what can and can’t be recycled by using a database of municipal waste and recycling services.

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