With such a small percentage of plastic getting recycled – only around 9% – it’s clear that there needs to be shift away from producing more single-use packaging to something more sustainable. One alternative is refills and that’s what Claudia Gwinutt is trying to do for the beauty industry with Circla. She founded the platform, which sells skincare, haircare and household products from planet positive brands that are delivered and refilled by Circla, in the first lockdown.
Circla chooses the brands it stocks carefully to make sure they align with the platform’s values, so they are purpose driven, socially aware, have ethical working standards, and manufacture vegan and cruelty-free products in the UK. That means you can shop from the curated selection, which includes body butter from Eboni Cosmetics, hand soap from Malako, shampoo from Moo & You and eco tampons from &Sisters, knowing that these are the good guys.
It’s a milk round-style (remember those?) set up; you order your products, use them up, leave the empties out ready for collection, and pick up your fresh new replacement batch. Circla uses aluminium and glass (both sourced from UK manufacturers) for its packaging, which can be reused between 50-60 times. Some come with plastic pumps, which you can hang on to and reuse rather than leaving them out with your empties, and if a pump breaks, you can send them back to Circla to be recycled.
Deliveries are emission-free, being made by bicycle or electric van, with intervals ranging from weekly up to every three months. Circla currently covers West and South West London, and there are plans to extend the delivery radius, so even more of you will be able to join the refill revolution.