What is post-consumer recycled plastic – and why is it so important?

Date: 17/06/2020

As today is #plasticfreebeautyday we wanted to highlight why we have chosen to use post-consumer recycled plastic for our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Strengthening-Essence Conditioner bottles.

Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo (200ml, £36) and Strengthening-Essence Conditioner  (200ml, £36) 

Plastic waste is one of the biggest global threats to the environment today, caused by the linear, single-use packaging models that companies (not least beauty companies) have been using for far too long. MONPURE want to be part of the current movement towards “closing the loop” on waste, using plastic that’s not just recyclable but is itself made from post-consumer recycled materials.

To explain why this is so vital, lets take a look at the different types of plastic there are: 

Virgin plastic is a type of plastic that is brand new i.e. it has not been made from recycled materials. In many cases, this type of plastic can be recycled. However this isn’t an ideal scenario, given that in the UK alone, more than half – or 51 million tonnes – of recyclable waste ends up in landfill or is destroyed.

Post-process recycled plastic uses recycled plastic, but not from the bottles and packets that consumers throw away. Instead it comes from moulding factories who have scraps of plastic left over, which then get recycled into new objects. There are also rumours of corporations who boast “recycled plastic” packaging, but who first make virgin plastic bottles for the sole purpose of “recycling” them (sad but true!) – so they’re not as eco-conscious as you might think.

Post-consumer recycled plastic is a type of plastic that has been reprocessed from other products that have been used and thrown away by consumers. A lot of the time, plastic objects that get discarded and recycled will get made into the same object (so an old shampoo bottle will be recycled to make a new one) thus closing the waste loop. This means that eventually, less plastic will end up in landfills, or in our oceans. 

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy – or cheap – to recycle post-consumer plastic. If you think about the processes involved (collecting, washing, disinfecting, sorting, re-processing, and redistributing it) it’s not the most straightforward of processes. There are also issues such as irregularities in colour and the grade of plastic used.

However, MONPURE remain committed to our pledge to help turn the tide on plastic waste. We believe that if we have to use plastic, post-consumer recycled plastic – that is also recyclable – is the best way forward for our planet.

“But I put all my plastic into the recycle bin – isn’t that enough?”

When it comes to plastics getting put in the right bins and picked up, there is an important difference in the ‘recovery rate’ and ‘recycling rate’. Recovery rate means the amount of plastic that gets picked up from bins like the ones you probably use at home. It then gets sorted for recycling – and the amount that eventually gets sent to a recycling facility is the recycling rate. The rest gets sent to either a landfill or ‘energy from waste’ facility. So if you use a post-consumer recycled plastic product, as we at MONPURE do, you can rest assured that you’re not potentially adding to the amount of waste plastic that’s already in circulation.

Our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Strengthening-Essence Conditioner bottles are 100% post-consumer recycled plastic – we designed, modelled and tested many different versions until we were happy with the end result. 

But we’re not stopping there. As our brand grows, we have further goals to help dismantle the culture of disposable plastic and encourage consumers to be more mindful, so that our beautiful planet is preserved for future generations.

Click here to read about the many other ways we’re making a difference.

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