India has 1.5 million waste pickers who collect and sort over 6,000 tonnes of plastic every day, that would otherwise pollute rivers and oceans. They have virtually no visibility in society and have limited rights. They are vulnerable to discrimination, poor living and working conditions and an unpredictable payment system.
The Body Shop has launched its first Community Trade recycled plastic from Bengaluru, in partnership with Plastics For Change, Hasiru Dala and Hasiru Dala Innovations. Community Trade is The Body Shop’s bespoke and independently-verified fair trade programme, which launched on World Fair Trade Day, to tackle the plastic crisis differently.
To mark this launch, the company had unveiled a giant artwork of a female Indian waste picker in London’s Borough Market, made using recycled plastic collected by waste pickers in Bengaluru.
In 2019, The Body Shop will purchase 250 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic to use in nearly three million 250 ml hair-care bottles. The bottles will contain 100% recycled plastic (excluding the bottle caps). About 15% of that will be Community Trade recycled plastic, the remainder will be recycled plastic from European sources.
In three years, the aim is to purchase over 900 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic and help empower up to 2,500 waste pickers in Bengaluru. They will receive a fair price for their work, a predictable income and access to better working conditions. They will also get help in accessing services such as education, financial loans and healthcare.
The Body Shop has also launched its in-store recycling programme – BBOB (Bring Back Our Bottles), encouraging customers to return empty plastic packaging in stores for recycling. It’s currently operational across 40 stores.