How does a small startup launch a mail-back recycling program to deliver circular products that massive brands struggle to make? Meet innovator Lindsey McCoy, who started Plaine Products with her sister, Alison, in 2017. Today, Plaine Products offers 16 fully circular personal care products, including shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and lotion. These personal care products are made with vegan ingredients and come in aluminum bottles that customers rinse and return for refilling when empty. When a customer runs low, they order a new bottle that arrives before they run out along with a return mail label; after swapping the pump to the new container, the empty is placed in the shipping box to send the battle back to Plaine Products for cleaning, refilling, and use by another customer.
Imagine the circular economy, a world in which everything we buy and use is collected, recycled, composted, or passed on for continued use to lower our environmental impact. The vision sounds a long way off, and it may be a long time until everything can be recycled or composted economically. Among companies, Walmart, Kroger, and Burger King are pioneering circularity through Loop, a consortium of consumer packaged goods brands spearheaded by specialty recycler TerraCycle. Loop has not disclosed how much packaging it has prevented from reaching the landfill. To date, Plaine Products has prevented more than 547,000 plastic bottles from being used once and tossed or escaping into nature as pollution. Lindsey also discusses how more than 270 retail stores now offer Plaine Products refill stations.
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