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Herbal Essences is hoping to clean up our oceans and raise awareness of marine pollution. The brand partnered with TerraCycle to create its Beach Plastics Collection — a line of shampoos and conditioners housed in bottles created from plastics scavenged from beaches.
"We are alarmed by the astonishing statistics about just how much plastic enters the ocean every year, and wanted to do something to drive awareness to this issue," said Herbal Essences beauty scientist Rachel Zipperian. The recyclable containers of this line were created with 25 percent beach plastics. "The additional plastic is needed to ensure the bottle is functional — it must be strong and flexible and the reclaimed ocean plastic is degraded," she said regarding the other 75 percent.
"Beach plastic is rigid plastic found on beaches and shorelines and in oceans, rivers, and lakes," said Tom Szaky, TerraCycle CEO. "This material tends to be dirty and degraded from exposure to the elements (sun, salt water, and sand) and is typically considered nonrecyclable for this reason. Because of this, the beach clean-up organizations collecting this litter from marine environments usually have no choice but to throw this material in the trash."
Upcycling these materials not only helps our ocean life, it also impacts other parts of our environment, as these plastics would typically be incinerated via fire (if it isn't sitting in a landfill). The beach plastics are harnessed through TerraCycle's network of nonprofit clean-up organizations around the world, which pick up plastics from beaches and waterways.
"This particular production run of Herbal Essences bottles in the United States is diverting about three tons of beach plastic, which weighs over 6,000 pounds," said Szaky. Though the number is large, he explained where it falls in the larger picture of marine pollution: "This is just a drop in the ocean compared to what is out there. The most important thing to highlight is the fact that this bottle will fuel much-needed conversations around marine plastic pollution and actions everyday consumers can take to contribute to a solution."
Zipperian said that the brand recognizes that plastics oftentimes aren't recycled, even though they could be. "This is an issue that the entire industry faces," she said. "We know we can do better so we are partnering with recycling innovators to make better choices, now and in our future. We can make a bigger impact together and hope awareness brings more change."
Ahead, see everything in the sustainable line.