NEW YORK, June 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Ahead of the UN’s 2022 World Ocean Day, Burt’s Bees and rePurpose Global announced a multi-year partnership to finance critical recycling infrastructure that prevents plastic waste from flowing into the ocean. The initiative will support frontline waste enterprises in India and Ghana and promises to eliminate over 1.5 million pounds of plastic waste otherwise bound for the ocean by the end of 2024.
Globally, at least 1 billion people living within 100 kilometers of coastlines lack equitable access to waste collection services, while at the same time, 15 million waste workers are engaged in the often exploitative informal sector worldwide. Creating recycling infrastructure in coastal regions in collaboration with waste worker communities is an impactful – and often overlooked – lever to reduce the flow of plastic into the marine ecosystem.
The landmark partnership will oversee the development and operations of new waste infrastructure in a tailored approach for two coastal regions. In Kerala, India, it will enable recycling facility upgrades and sustained door-to-door waste collection services for around 2,000 households. In Accra, Ghana, the project will partner with buyback centers in the region and expand local collection networks. Together, the initiatives will improve health and safety, working conditions and wellbeing standards for 350 local waste workers, the majority of whom are female, as well as create additional income streams from low-value waste materials.
“Plastic waste is a huge challenge for our industry and the planet, and it demands true collaboration to tackle it,” shared Matt Kopac, Associate Director of Sustainability at Burt’s Bees. “Not only does this partnership stop plastic from leaking into the ocean, but it also creates crucial opportunities to economically empower waste workers and their communities. We are very proud to join forces with rePurpose Global and support their thoughtful approach to tackling plastic pollution.”
This initiative is a key part of Burt’s Bees’ commitment to achieve net zero plastic to nature by 2025. The brand is committed to a 50% reduction in virgin packaging materials (plastic and fiber) by 2030, and moving towards a target of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. The company will also invest in critical plastic recycling infrastructure in the US and around the world in cooperation with The Recycling Partnership and rePurpose Global—to recover and recycle at least as much plastic as their own plastic footprint.
“Taking action on the plastic problem requires genuine intent, systems thinking, and meticulous execution,” said Svanika Balasubramanian, CEO & Co-Founder of rePurpose Global. “We are so glad that the leadership team at Burt’s Bees shares our ethos, and we are thrilled about working with such a cohort of forward thinkers to tackle ocean-bound plastic on land before it becomes waste.“
To date, 230 businesses across 26 countries are working with rePurpose Global to measure, reduce, and balance their plastic footprint, resulting in 14 million pounds of plastic recovered from nature every year.
ABOUT REPURPOSE GLOBAL
rePurpose Global is the world’s leading Plastic Action Platform, dedicated to reducing waste, reviving lives, and restoring nature’s balance. Through its comprehensive set of solutions across the material lifecycle, the organization helps people and companies calculate, reduce, and balance their plastic footprint, while empowering innovators on the cutting edge of advancing a circular economy.
To date, rePurpose has been creating change in partnership with hundreds of companies across 26 countries, such as Grove Collaborative, AB InBev, Credit Suisse, Google, and Colgate. On behalf of its global coalition, the organization is removing over 14 million pounds of plastic waste from nature every year, and in doing so, positively impacts the lives of over 10,000 marginalized waste workers and community members worldwide. To learn more please visit the rePurpose Global website.
ABOUT BURT’S BEES
Burt’s Bees® is the #1 Dermatologist Recommended Natural Skin Care Brand*—offering clean and consciously made Lip Balm, Skin Care and more—designed to work with skin, not against it. Formulas are over 95% natural origin, Leaping Bunny Certified, and sourced with respect to communities and the land. Burt’s Bees is CarbonNeutral® certified, with landfill-free operations, and recyclable packaging (curbside or through TerraCycle®).
* Based on a September 2021 NielsenIQ national survey of U.S. Dermatologists
Information on the rePurpose Impact Projects supported by Burt’s Bees:
Project Hara Kal – Kerala, India
rePurpose Global’s Project Hara Kal creates a waste management supply chain that collects and ethically processes neglected low-value plastic in Malappuram, on the coast of Kerala in Southern India. rePurpose Global and its impact partner Green Worms work with over 250 local women and youths and fund training and employment through the project. Low-value materials such as MLP have a recovery rate of less than 5% and, prior to the project, the waste management infrastructure to recycle the plastic did not exist and low-value plastics were either being burnt or dumped in nature: often finding their way into the Arabian Sea.
Project Fann Epo – Accra, Ghana
rePurpose Global’s Project Fann Epo collects and recycles PET plastic bottles from beaches, dumpsites and coastal communities along the coast of Ghana. Only 5% of PET plastic bottles are recycled in Ghana; rePurpose Global and its impact partner Coliba Recycling are working to prevent the bottles and other waste from entering marine ecosystems and creating value from the generated recycling. The project empowers a network of almost 300 waste workers and a further 50 facility employees.
A detailed impact report of this project for 2021 can be accessed here.