Real talk : Volume. 2 - Good for you, good for the planet.
Welcome to volume two of our monthly Q + A ‘Real Talk’: Our brand new IGTV series promoting empowerment within our community, which we're creating with the help of some of the most inspiring huns we know!
Last month we touched base with body honesty advocate Jess Greenash about all things vagina related. For this months entry, we couldn’t think of a better guest to follow on with than the immensely inventive and sustainable brand upCircle beauty.
"We want to leave the world better than we found it" - upcircle beauty.
Q: How did the idea of Upcircle Beauty come about?
A: For those of you who don’t know, at upcircle we make sustainable skincare products from ingredients which would otherwise be discarded! SO we’re all about up-cylcing and reimagining by products from various industries into high performing skincare ingredients. The initial idea came out just over five years ago out of complete natural curiosity. We walked into a coffee shop and asked the barista behind the bar, what happened to the used coffee grounds that they produce throughout the day. We were really surprised when he told us that they actually have to pay the local council to have those coffee grounds disposed of at landfill sites. Unfortunately at landfill the coffee rots to produce methane which is a greenhouse gas. So! All of a sudden we had this problem that we wanted to try and create a solution for. I always knew coffee has fantastic skincare benefits. So we thought why not go to cafes and restaurants all over London, collecting up their used coffee grounds and turning them into sustainable skincare products.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
A: I would say that the biggest challenge for our brand so far probably came about during the covid pandemic. As you can imagine when we are repurposing byproducts from other industries we rely on those industries to be able to function. For example when all of the coffee shops that we collect our grounds from had to close their doors for nearly a year we had a big supply chain issue. So we had to really think outside the box and find new and creative ways to make sure that we could still get the actual byproducts that we use.
Q: Tell us more about the ingredients you use in your products and why they are sustainable?
A: So I’ve spoken about coffee, but what other by-products do we use…from ground olive stones leftover from making olive oil, to flower petals from weddings, the list is endless. I like to think that the limit to byproduct waste usage is your imagination.
Q: What are the main areas in which mainstream beauty companies can become more sustainable?
A: Packaging is one of the main things that gives the beauty industry it’s poor reputation with regards to sustainability. You’ll notice across our range we use glass jars and aluminium lids, we also offer a refill option.
Q: Tell us more about the Re-fill scheme! When did you start doing this and why is it important to refill our beauty products?
A: On earth day we launched a full refill scheme, so essentially what you do is when you’ve run out of your product you got to our website and purchase your next product as a refill, which is also 20% cheaper. You then gather up your empties and send them to us and then we refill them for you from one of our London locations. We’re known for having a circular approach to our ingredients, so thought it was important to have a circular approach to our packaging too. I think it’s one of the best things other brands could take a more proactive approach to, with regards to minimising their impact on the planet.
Q: What’s the next big step for Upcircle Beauty!?
A: Over the last year we’re proud to say that our team has tripled in size, growing our team is definitely a big focus for us and expanding our product range is as well. We have grown globally now so we’ve got lots of partners particularly in America, so we need lots of feet on the ground to help us keep up with the pace. By doing this we can continue to flourish as a young brand.
Going Plastic Free: The Rise of Zero Waste Shopping
If you were intrigued by the upcircle beauty product range and want to hear Gemma talk a little more about zero waste living, then tune into watch the full IGTV episode here.
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