Why Harrods new beauty recycling scheme is anything but simple

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 17-Jan-2023

The department store’s MyBeauty Recycle & Reward scheme highlights the difficulties of recycling hazardous beauty products, such as nail polish and fragrance bottles

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Harrods is trialling a new scheme which allows H Beauty customers to recycle typically ‘unrecyclable’ cosmetics products – a first of its kind for a UK retailer. 

The MyBeauty Recycle & Reward programme accepts used nail polishes and fragrances, which are two types of hazardous beauty products normally destined for landfill.

Other beauty products that can be dropped off include make-up compacts, mascara, eyeshadow containers, shampoo, lotion pumps, and skin care and vitamin bottles.

Concealer, foundation, eyeliner pencils, lip products and travel minis can also be deposited. 

The luxury department store is working with recycling partner MyGroup on the pilot scheme.

It will run for three months at Harrods’ Milton Keynes branch and then be reviewed. 

How does Harrods’ beauty recycling scheme work?

Pulling together a recycling scheme that accepts any used brand products – especially those that contain hazardous materials – is no easy feat.

It is a complicated process, due to the various bottles and parts that will be dropped off, which is why the company has partnered with MyGroup on the project. 

Products handed in by customers to the recycling bins in-store should be as empty as possible, but MyGroup’s method will remove any remaining residue.

“When we receive a box back from Harrods, the entire contents are classified as hazardous,” a spokesperson for MyGroup told Cosmetics Business.  

“Everything will go through an initial phase of residual liquid removal, which takes the hazardous-based liquids out to be sent for treatment at a distillation plant for industrial fuel. 

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