The Body Shop Goes All Guns Blazing to Beat Plastic Pollution

The Body Shop has launched its first Community Trade recycled plastic in Bengaluru. To mark this launch, the company has unveiled a giant artwork of a female Indian waste picker in London’s Borough Market. The art work is made using recycled plastic collected by waste pickers in Bengaluru.

Our planet is drowning in plastic. The devastating effect of plastic waste on our oceans is well known. However, there is a human element to the plastic crisis, which is rarely discussed. Over three billion people live without formal waste management – that’s almost half the planet’s population. This has given rise to an informal waste picking economy.

Some of the world’s most marginalised people pick untreated waste to try to make a living. These waste pickers, often live below the poverty line and work in appalling conditions. Yet they form a critical line of defense in stopping plastic from entering our rivers and oceans.

This has been the motivation of The Body Shop in launching its first Community Trade recycled plastic, in partnership with Plastics For Change, Hasiru Dala and Hasiru Dala Innovations. Community Trade is The Body Shop’s bespoke and independently-verified fair trade programme. Launching on World Fair Trade Day, it is a commitment to tackling the plastic crisis differently. 

India has 1.5 million waste pickers who collect and sort over 6,000 tonnes of plastic every day that would otherwise pollute rivers and oceans. The majority of them are dalits and have virtually no visibility in society. With over three decades of working with disadvantaged communities around the world, The Body Shop is applying its expertise to help fight for people and the planet. 

The Body Shop has started using Community Trade recycled plastic in its 250 ml haircare bottles. In 2019, it will purchase 250 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic to use in nearly three million 250 ml haircare bottles. The bottles will contain 100% recycled plastic (excluding the bottle caps). 15% of that will be Community Trade recycled plastic, the remainder will be recycled plastic from European sources.  

In India, The Body Shop has launched its in-store recycling programme – BBOB (Bring Back Our Bottles), encouraging customers to return empty plastic packaging in stores for recycling. It is currently operational across 40 stores. Planned as a pan-India initiative, it is a significant step for the brand towards valuing plastic and protecting the environment.

“As a company, we’ve always had the conviction to stand up for our principles when it comes to helping empower people, especially women, while protecting our planet. Our new Community Trade partnership will not only help support waste pickers but also champion plastic as a valuable, renewable resource when used responsibly.” said Lee Mann, Global Community Trade Manager for The Body Shop.

The Body Shop will increase the amount of Community Trade Recycled plastic over time. In three years, the aim is to purchase over 900 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic and help empower up to 2,500 waste pickers in Bengaluru. 

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Aradhana Sharma
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Aradhana Sharma is a nature lover based in South Delhi and takes keen interest in urging people to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle.

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