We mostly use glass bottles and jars, except for where weight and safety dictate, for example glass can be dangerous in the shower.
We switched to 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic for our main sizes of blue plastic bottles in 2009 - and are committed to using 100% recycled plastic bottles by 2025. We are also looking to bring recycled content into tubes and caps.
Leading conservation charity Fauna & Flora International recognise our ‘careful and rational’ actions to limit plastic use:
‘We have appreciated Neal's Yard Remedies' active support for our work towards a world-leading microbeads ban in the UK and its ongoing interest in ensuring other countries are also acting on this issue. We acknowledge Neal’s Yard Remedies’ careful and rational approach to sustainability and commend its efforts to find the most sustainable and practical use of plastic in packaging.’
Banning Plastic Microbeads
Microbeads are harmful plastic particles used in many personal care products that end up polluting our oceans and entering the food chain. We only use natural exfoliating ingredients such as rosehip seeds for our scrubs and polishes - never microbeads.
We successfully lobbied the UK government, alongside Fauna & Flora International, to #BanTheBead. We are now looking to expand the ban worldwide and have already contributed to an EU consultation on banning microplastics.
We were the first UK brand to be certified with the Look for the Zero logo, showing that we use zero plastic ingredients in our products. We are also seeking to ensure the plastic we use has been carefully managed during production by asking our key plastic suppliers to sign up to Operation Clean Sweep an industry best practice standard to ensure that care is taken to avoid plastic pellet loss during manufacture and transport.
Calling Bathroom Warriors
We want to help bring about a UK-wide plastic packaging recycling rate of at least 70% by 2025. However, only 50% of recyclable bathroom waste is currently recycled. That’s why we need your help in keeping bathroom recyclables out of general waste and in to recycling bins!
The majority of our packaging can already be recycled locally. To find out how to dispose of all our packaging see here.
Recycling reduces material and energy usage and also reduces the chances of packaging getting into our environment. However, reuse is better than recycling – we’ve seen some great upcycling of our blue bottles, such as vases and in decorations. Why not share how you upcycle yours on social media?
In 2017 we became the first national company to provide free water refills as part of the Refill Scheme, to help reduce the use of single-use plastic. Find your local participating store on our store finder or the Refill app. Why not spread the word by using hashtag #NYRefill?
Our staff do annual beach cleans with Dorset Wildlife Trust. If you want to get involved there are organisations across the country that run beach cleans and community litter picks.
Reusable & Recyclable Bags
The recyclable brown paper bags we use in-store are made from recycled paper. Alternatively, our organic cotton bags can be used again and again! All our cotton is 100% organic, reducing water and pesticide use.
Zero Waste Mission
Our mission towards creating zero waste is driven by repurposing by-products and using them in our products, such as our Frankincense Intense™ Lift range, which uses our Award-Winning Frankincense Active Phyto Complex. This uses a by-product of frankincense essential oil distillation, developed with a University Research Centre in Italy and made using a patented enzymatic process.
We use other by-products such as ground peach seeds in our scrubs. Not only do these cut down on resource use, they often create additional revenue streams for farmers.
Reduced Packaging Options
We’re taking steps to avoid packaging completely where possible, for example, we sell dried herbs and encourage customers to bring their own containers for refills.
We have I litre bottles for several products in our bath and shower range, which uses 60% less plastic than buying the equivalent in 200ml bottles. We also have refills available for our reed diffusers.
We use low preservative formulations and have a responsibility to ensure that all products reach the consumer in perfect condition and remain so for the duration of their use. This means we haven’t yet found a way to offer in-store refills - we are however intending to trial this by 2020.
How to Dispose of our Packaging
Recycling options depend on your local authority - the Recycle Now website is a great source of information to find out how to recycle each item. In the UK, these are usually the best ways to recycle our packaging:
- Glass bottles & jars:
Upcycle and reuse at home. Alternatively recycle with green bottles, in your kerbside recycling or at your local bottle bank.
- Plastic bottles & jars:
Recycle with plastics, usually in your kerbside recycling, or at household waste recycling centres.
- Aluminium tubes & containers:
Recycle with your kerbside recycling, or at household waste recycling centres.
- Plastic tubes:
These are made from PE and are recyclable but not all local authorities accept them yet. Check with your local authority if they can be disposed of in kerbside recycling or at collection points. Remove the lid and recycle separately.
- Lids & caps:
Recycle with your kerbside recycling, or at household waste recycling centres. It's best to remove it from tubes - and ideally from bottles and jars, as this depends on your local authority.
- Pumps & atomisers:
These are unfortunately not recycled by local authorities as they are made of plastic and metal. We are looking into recyclable alternatives.
- Superfood & facial wipe pouches:
Facial wipe pouches are PET/PE laminate and superfood pouches are PET/AL/LDPE laminate, neither of which are currently common in local recycling schemes. We are looking to launch a trial return-to-store scheme soon.
Peel off the bottle or jar, double over and recycle with plastics.
- Cartons, corrugated card & paper:
Recycle in your kerbside recycling, or at household waste recycling centres.
- Packing chips (used in deliveries):
They may look like it, but these aren't plastic - they're made out of corn starch. They are biodegradable and compostable to the EN 13432 standard. Do not put in with recycling, either place in industrial composting waste streams where available or in general waste.
- Cotton/natural fibres:
Wash and reuse. They are naturally biodegradable, however, for us to make claims around composting, they would need to be tested to meet specific standards. Cotton can be added to textile recycling collection points - simply dry out first.
- Dried herb bags:
We will have finished moving to a new eco-friendly Natureflex™ film for our clear herb bags by March 2019. This renewable, plant-sourced bag is made from PEFC/FSC® certified wood pulp and meets both industrial and home composting standards. It is also suitable for anaerobic digestion (food waste recycling). Remove stickers first.
You can ask in-store if they have switched yet. If they haven't, please dispose of the old bags in general waste. Alternatively, you can bring in your own clean container.
If they are faulty return to store or contact Customer Care, otherwise these should be disposed of with other electronics at household waste recycling centres.