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A Refill and Recycling Revolution: TerraCycle’s Tom Szaky talks about beauty

This content item was originally published on, a William Reed online publication.

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags TerraCycle Personal care products council Recyclable packaging refillable packaging Sustainability

This month’s PCPC Annual Meeting was all about sustainability. At the event, Cosmetics Design caught up with Szaky to discuss the business of TerraCycle, the Loop platform, and sustainable beauty packaging more broadly.

TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky was on the Personal Care Product Council’s event program more than once during the 2020 annual meeting, discussing circular waste streams, Gen Z’s concerns about the environment, and more.

In this video interview with Editor Deanna Utroske, Szaky says that “the good news (and this is good news within the last two years) is, the industry is eye’s wide open, understanding they are in crisis mode. People are attacking single-use; they are attacking plastic. (We can debate whether those are the right things to attack.)….that wasn’t the case 3, 5, 10 years ago.” ​Just the fact that beauty makers are thinking about sustainability is promising, says Szaky.

Sustainable beauty packaging and the future of the industry

When asked what small brands and multinational beauty makers can or should do from here forward, Szaky says that “the important thing to do is think about your waste journey….How do you make your package recyclable, How do you make it from recycled content, and How do you go into the future on reusables.”

Reusables, or what Szaky describes as we-refill-for-you containers are shaping up to be the better business model, the better platform.

“Loop [TerraCycle’s latest venture] is more of a platform,” ​Szaky tells Cosmetics Design. “What we are not is a product or a brand because if we were, we could never scale at the rate that we need to show change right now.”

Reusables are updated iterations of the glass milk bottles of the 1950s and the Loop Platform that makes this refill option newly possible for skin care, hair care, and personal care products is successful to the extent that it is today, in large part, because it readily accommodates the Western world’s proclivity for disposables.

“What Loop is,” ​says Szaky, “is a disposable experience. You just take your package, throw it away—you’re just throwing it into a reuse container—and it’s a we-refill-for-you [model].”

Watch the full video interview at the top of the page to learn how TerraCycle collects and recycles otherwise unrecyclable beauty packaging, how far this industry and others have still to go.



Deanna Utroske is a leading voice in the cosmetics and personal care industry as well as in the indie beauty movement. As Editor of, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders. Find out what else Deanna is seeing in the sustainable beauty packaging movement in this recent #duviews video.

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