Australia’s first playground made with recycled beauty products

Using beauty product waste collected by schools across Australia, global recycling firm TerraCycle has built a playground out of the recycled material at Park Lake State School.

A school in Gold Coast, Australia, has helped build the country’s first playground out of recycled beauty products, after it won a competition held by major beauty brand Garnier and global recycling company TerraCycle. 

Park Lake State School recycled 14,700 out of the 145,000 units of beauty products that were otherwise headed for the landfill, emerging as the top collector after two months of waste collection and winner of the Garnier Recycled Playground Competition.

Working in partnership with five local recycling companies, the competition ensured that the empty beauty products collected by participating schools were cleaned, shredded, and melted down into hard plastic, before being remoulded to build the new playground, in line with TerraCycle’s goal of creating recycled materials that can serve as sustainable alternatives to plastic.

The recycled materials used to make the playground included plastic pellets made out of beauty product waste. Image: TerraCycle

“The students at Park Lake are very passionate about sustainability and caring for the environment. By recycling all our non-recyclables, we are reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfill and enabling new materials to be made. This is a win for the environment and for our future,” said Ursula Carty, the school’s principal.

The competition is part of the broader Beauty Products Recycling Program sponsored by L’Oréal Australia, which includes well-known brands such as Garnier, Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris and La Roche-Posay.

 “L’Oréal is a brand that’s been focused on sustainability, and they loved the idea of being able to offer their consumers a recycling opportunity for their products,” said Daria Ramanos, public relations manager for TerraCycle Australia and New Zealand. “There wasn’t much out there in the space of recycling beauty product packaging, so TerraCycle filled that gap by partnering with brands that want to give their consumers a sustainable solution.” 

The recycling programme allows Australians to divert empty skin care, hair care and cosmetic products from landfill free-of-charge. This include cosmetics and haircare packaging such as used lipstick holders, hair gel tubes and caps, and skincare products like body wash and lotion dispensers.

Although waste from beauty products is recyclable in Australia, many recycling and manufacturing companies are not motivated to recycle used products such as shampoo bottles and body wash dispensers because of the high cost of recycling mixed-plastic items. Most beauty care packaging are hence diverted to landfills around the country, where 40 per cent of all waste generated in Australia ends up.

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