Emma Lewisham

BusinessJune 18, 2020

The New Zealand skincare company diverting plastic from landfill

Emma Lewisham

Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand. This week he talks to Emma Lewisham, founder of a skincare line of the same name.

From the outside, the cosmetics industry can look like a ruse to part people with their money. Small bottles of lotions and potions are sold for large amounts of cash on the basis of equally big claims: anti-ageing, collagen-boosting, pore-shrinking. And at the end of the day, a lot of those claims simply made don’t hold up to much scrutiny.

Often the ingredients aren’t that helpful and may even be quite harmful with an enormous amount of the industry’s products being petrol-based. One ingredient that’s harmless on the skin but unjust on the wallet is water – the main component in most cosmetics and one usually listed as “aqua” to sound expensive.

It probably isn’t a surprise to hear that the biggest cost for most products is the packaging. Most often, that packaging goes to landfill – the pumps and odd shapes and mixes of materials often mean they can’t be recycled.

Ultimately, the cosmetics industry is ripe for all kinds of disruption, and one local company is doing just that with a new scheme to help address the sector’s big waste problem.

Emma Lewisham’s eponymous skincare brand sells products to address the effects of the sun on skin pigment. Now the company has launched a new initiative to take back and recycle the brand’s empty packaging, along with any other brand’s facial skincare packaging, in return for a voucher for its products.

It’s a cool idea, which is why we invited Lewisham stop by and talk to Business is Boring about product design, sustainable practices, and the effect of UV.

Either download this episodehave a listen or via Spotify, subscribe through iTunes (RSS feed).

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