ELC Teams Up with North America’s Premier Glass Recycling Company to Propel Packaging Sustainability

As a frontrunner in luxury beauty renowned for its dedication to sustainability, The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) remains steadfast in its mission to provide consumers with top-tier cosmetic products and packaging that blend opulence with eco-consciousness. Marking Earth Day with pride, the company shines a spotlight on its collaboration with Strategic Materials, Inc. (SMI), the foremost glass recycler in North America.

Glass, increasingly favored in luxury cosmetics packaging, presents unique challenges for recyclability due to diverse decorations, colors, and formats. In response, ELC and SMI embarked on a multi-year study to enhance the recyclability of glass packaging and the accessibility of recycled materials. Over the course of four years (2020-2024), the partnership scrutinized more than 200 glass beauty containers, uncovering insights crucial for advancing circularity in the cosmetics industry.

In North America’s intricate recycling landscape, stakeholders from packaging producers like ELC to recyclers like SMI play pivotal roles. Despite recyclers’ efforts to extract maximum value from received packages, a scarcity of high-quality post-consumer recycled (PCR) glass, or cullet, persists, necessitating continuous improvements in contamination rates and material stream cleanliness.

ELC and SMI aim to disseminate their findings soon, igniting packaging sustainability innovations within North America’s cosmetics industry. By sharing learnings and best practices, the collaboration seeks to foster strategic design approaches that yield higher glass output, aligning with global efforts to bolster recyclability rates amid diverse recycling guidelines and regulations.

This partnership aligns with ELC’s broader commitment to mitigate packaging-related environmental impacts across its portfolio. With a goal to make 75-100% of its packaging recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled, or recoverable by 2025, ELC also pledges to incorporate 25% or more PCR material in its packaging. Additionally, the company aims to halve its use of virgin petroleum plastic in packaging by 2030 while prioritizing responsibly sourced paper products, aiming for RSC certification for all forest-based fiber cartons by 2025.

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