What is Aesop's approach to sustainable packaging?

Our approach to packaging has remained largely unchanged over the years. This is not just a design choice—it is an ethos. Vessels must be functional, modest, and have minimal environmental impact. It may sound at odds with this approach, but some of our bottles are made from plastic, rather than glass. This was not a decision made lightly but is a solution to our practical packaging problems—it is also a little-known fact that plastic bottles actually have a lower carbon footprint than their glass counterparts.  

Most of the plastic we use is recycled PET, which consists of at least 97% recycled material. Our recycled PET is made up of household plastic waste. These bottles have a much lower footprint than a vessel made entirely of virgin materials, and they meet our product performance needs perfectly. By the end of 2021, 88% of our plastic bottles were made from recycled PET, and the aim is to increase that in 2022. Aesop set an ambitions target of 50% recycled material in plastic packaging by 2025, as of Q1 2022 we are currently sitting at 53.8%. 

Our 2030 commitments include:

  • All packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
  • Use an average of 50% recycled content across our packaging range by 2025, short term goal to source 88% of our PET plastic packaging from recycled PET by 2021 has been achieved
  • 20% (or more) reduction in packaging material by 2030
  • Deliver a refill or closed-loop solution for 50% of our packaging range by 2030
  • Offset through collection and reuse programs to reach 100% responsible disposal of product packaging where recycling infrastructure is not available by 2030

Current initiatives against this include:

  • Using recycled plastic: shifting the majority of plastic bottles in our range from virgin Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) to Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (rPET), comprising a minimum 97 per cent recycled material sourced from post-consumer kerbside recycled content. As at end 2021, approximately 88% of the PET in our packaging is now from recycled sources.  
  • Offering our product without pumps: expanding the range of 500mL products offered with a screw-cap in place of pump for customers replenishing their favoured Aesop formulations. The screw-cap option represents a 12-gram reduction in plastic per unit. 
  • Offering packaging take back systems in store: continuing the Hong Kong SAR, China Rinse and Return programme to reduce the amount of used packaging from Aesop, and from other cosmetic and personal care companies, going to Hong Kong SAR, China landfill. 
  • FSC and PEFC Certified Paper: All of the secondary (cartons) and tertiary (transit Shippers) packaging materials used to house Aesop’s retail Products Is comprised of paper that is either FSC or PEFC certified. These globally recognised certifications ensure that we have material traceability for our paper-based Product Packaging materials.
  • Aesop is a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, which promotes packaging sustainability.
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