Solution: Eco-friendly beauty brand. Owner: UpCircle. Strategy: Recycle.
UpCircle uses food waste and by-products to make skincare products. The company uses materials such as coffee grounds, fruit stones and chai spices.
UpCircle’s products are vegan and cruelty free. They include moisturisers, toners, cleansers, eye creams, scrubs and soap bars. UpCircle also sells plastic-free bathroom accessories including razors, cloths, candles and cotton buds.
Manufactured in the UK and sold across the globe. Warehouses and distribution centres are based in London, Birmingham, Ireland and New Jersey.
In 2020, UpCircle launched its range into 2,000+ shops. These were located in the UK, France, Denmark, Portugal, Finland, Australia and the USA. The company also tripled the size of its team and launched seven new products.
Since launching, UpCircle has:
- diverted over 350 tonnes of coffee grounds from landfill.
- extracted 75 tonnes of coffee oil to create face serums.
- repurposed 350kg of brewed chai spices.
- upcycled 20,000 mandarins-worth of residual water.
- used extract from leftover bark in its eye cream.
- rescued 900,000 date seeds from being discarded.
Potential circular economy impact
UpCircle reduces waste by using leftover and by-product materials. This diverts waste from compost, anaerobic digestion, landfill and incineration. Their containers are often reusable and plastic-free, which drives down waste.
The company also eliminates the reliance on petroleum to make virgin materials.
People: Product designers; testers; marketing specialists; supply chain managers; cosmetic manufacturers.
Resources: Organic waste and by-products; refillable packaging; laboratory for processing.
Technology: Equipment to transform waste into beauty products; sterilising machinery.
Implementation: Sourcing by-products; adding necessary ingredients; finding and using refillable packaging; organising a packaging returns process.