Photo by Alejo Reinoso on Unsplash

Get rewarded for recycling

By Gemma Gatticchi
Monday, Jun 12, 2023 Recycling

If you have ever held on to empty bath, body and cosmetic containers simply because you didn’t know what to do with them, there is a solution. Some stores will take them off your hands and recycle them for you. Here’s a round-up of popular retailers – and how they’re helping to keep waste out of landfills.

Beauty and body care

  • Lush: Return five empty pots or tubes to receive a free face mask.
  • The Body Shop: Return one plastic bottle to receive R20 off your next purchase.
  • L’Occitane: While the store accepts empty bottles of any kind, only L’Occitane brand products accumulate loyalty points. Customers can receive R20 in loyalty points.
  • MAC: Return six MAC containers to receive a free lipstick.

Footwear and textiles

Textile waste can take more than 200 years to decompose, while generating methane gas and leaching chemicals and dyes into groundwater and soil. Some major retailers in South Africa have partnered with social organisations, such as Clothes to Good, that repair, upcycle or recycle clothing and other items to fund and support other causes.

  • Levi’s: Donate any pair of wearable denim jeans to the store and get 20% off your next purchase.
  • H&M: For each shopping bag filled with any kind of clothing, material (curtains and backpacks included) or footwear, you will get a 15% off voucher. Fill a black dustbin bag with the same materials and you will get four 15% off vouchers.
  • Zara: Customers can drop off any materials and shoes in a sealed bag in-store as part of Zara’s clothing collection programme. The store does not offer any rewards for this.
  • Woolworths: In collaboration with the South African nonprofit social enterprise, Taking Care of Business, Woolies has placed clothing recycling bins in these shopping centres:
    • Somerset Mall
    • Mall of the North
    • Mall of the South
    • Greenacres
    • Maroune Square
    • Gateway
    • Canal Walk
    • Midlands Mall

Read more: Clothes to Good – Turning waste textiles into positive impacts

Why do companies offer incentives?

Recycling programmes are part of companies’ social responsibility programmes and help lessen their negative impact. There are also financial benefits – by encouraging customers to return empty containers, companies save money and conserve resources by not having to create as many new clothes and containers from scratch.