The threat of global warming has meant that many of us are rethinking the way we shop and what we buy. However, for cosmetics and perfumery brands how feasible is it to recycle perfume packaging?
Most perfume sets are a combination of materials : glass, plastic, aluminum, zinc alloy or wood which makes it difficult to recycle packaging. Nearly all perfume bottles sold have crimp pumps on them which has made it impossible in the past to refill them.
So which companies currently offer refill at home options for bottles?
Eden Perfumes in the UK offer a refill option where you post the empty bottle back to their factory to be refilled and then sent back out to you.
So is there a better alternative to refill packaging?
Unfortunately refill packaging also requires additional packaging – new bottles, boxes and closures. So the most environmentally friendly option is the fragrance refill bar.
Thierry Mugler has dispensers in store where consumers can refill their perfume bottles at a lower cost.
Chic Shaik in the Middle East has had perfumery refill bars in its larger distribution outlets since their launch and offer a lifetime refill service for their bottles. They also will do refurbishment of their beautiful bottles (at a cost) to ensure that they last a lifetime.
Other big brands have limited refill stations in select outlets and cities, largely in Europe. Such as Guerlain in their flagship store in Paris, Roja Dove offers a refill option in Harrods using Daum crystal dispensers. Le Labo offers refilling in France primarily and selected European outlets. Caron offers a refill station at Fortnum and Mason in London.
In the past only bottles with removable screw pumps could be refilled. But now technology from French company Techniplast allows even bottles where you cannot remove the pump to be refilled.
Hopefully this is the way forward and more companies will start to buy into this new technology to allow more recycling of bottles in the future. However, this requires not only investment from brand owners, but also cooperation from retail outlets. Until there is more pressure from consumers or penalties imposed by governments to encourage more recycling, this approach is unlikely to become available in your local perfume retail outlet.