September 26, 2019 Published by

In part 1 of our 2-part series, we took a look at attitudes, habits, drivers, and influencers for everything green.  Now in Part Two, we will dive even deeper into all things recycling (and her recycling habits at home), exploring the impact recycling has on purchasing decisions with regards to beauty and personal care products, including an exploration of refillable/reusable packaging. Also, we’ll take a deeper look at ingredients, and if sustainability and ‘clean’ ingredients matter to consumers.

Her Recycling Behavior

When it comes to recycling at home, 75% of all consumers say they recycle at home when possible, with Baby Boomers leading the way at 83%. However, in terms of purposely purchasing beauty and personal care products with recyclable or reusable packaging, only just over half (51%) agree that yes, they purposely seek out recyclable packaging, with 49% saying no, they don’t make recyclability a priority. When viewed by age, a slightly stronger trend towards recycling emerges with younger generations (Gen Z and Millennials) are more attuned to the need for recycled packaging.

Figure 1. Purchasing Intent For Recycling Packaging

 Purposely Purchase Recyclable Packaging? All Gen Z (18 – 24) Millennials (25 – 38) Gen X (39 – 53) Boomers (54+)
Yes 51% 56% 54% 49% 46%
No 49% 44% 46% 51% 54%


The packaging component consumers feel is most recyclable includes small screw caps/unattached caps (35%); pumps or droppers (34%); and tubes (33%), and 43% always rinse out their old beauty or personal care packaging before putting it into the recycling bin.  What she isn’t doing is removing labels or stickers before recycling—39% say they just toss old packaging in the bin without peeling off labels.

Perhaps because recycling at home is a common practice and something most consumers have been doing for decades, engagement with this form of recycling is much higher than with newer, alternative offerings, such as in-store recycling. Although many brands and stores are starting to offer the in-store option, most consumers (64%) are unaware of in-store recycling, and when in-store recycling is offered, only 12% always return empty beauty and personal care packaging back to the store for recycling.

Although engagement isn’t yet thriving, this doesn’t mean consumers aren’t interested in in-store recycling. They just want an inducement to recycle, such as: free samples/goodies for recycling (83%), free shipping bag/box to send empty products back to the store (81%), discounts on future purchases for recycling (78%), and offering a loyalty/rewards program for recycling (77%).

Even though consumers do recycle, overall recycling is not yet a big enough driver to completely change her behavior.  If her favorite beauty or personal care brand stopped using recycling packaging or materials, most consumers would not absolutely stop using or buying the brand.

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