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Environment

“We have entered this new market to show we must rethink production and consumerism,” Teodoro Bava, Reload Beleza Positiva

The Brazilian haircare company is the first in the world to reuse plastic mineral water bottles to distribute its products.

Plastic is a global problem. According to the UN, approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. A survey conducted by Science magazine revealed a worrisome trend that this figure will probably reach 17.5 tons by 2025.

Teodoro Bava, commercial director at Reload

Teodoro Bava, commercial director at Reload

A plastic bottle takes 600 years to decompose at sea, but we use it for no longer than just 20 minutes,” says Teodoro Bava, Commercial Director at Reload Beleza Positiva. This Brazilian cosmetics company is the first in the world to reuse mineral water bottles to distribute its haircare products. “We came up with this idea while assessing how products are currently consumed and disposed of.

The company was first launched in 2013 but underwent a complete overhaul last year and now focuses heavily on sustainability. “We repositioned Reload to challenge old, unsustainable market models and provide a new option for consumers who are concerned about their health and the environment,” says Bava.

For this reason, Reload collaborated with mineral water company Água Mineral São Lourenço. They proceeded to map out the establishments where Água Mineral São Lourenço’s products are sold, such as bars, hotels and restaurants, and later started collecting disposed water bottles from them directly. The company then developed and patented a new sanitizing technique to clean all collected bottles, which are then reused to package Reload’s products.

At the moment, only two products in the company’s portfolio are sold packaged in reused water bottles – a shampoo and a conditioner. Both of these products are all-natural and vegan, as well as sulphate- and parabens-free with an exclusive fragrance developed by Givaudan. Prices vary between R$ 60 to R$ 70 for 300ml bottles, putting them in the high-end category. “With this launch, we were able to confirm Brazilian consumers’ willingness to pay more for a product that has high performance, but is environmentally friendly.

The shampoo and conditioner, as well as a kit containing both products, are available for purchase at Reload’s e-commerce website. Bava says that the company is currently in negotiations with gyms, natural product stores and beauty salons that share the company’s values, meaning its products will soon be available at new points of sale.

We will also include a company display at each of these locations so that consumers can correctly dispose of Reload’s product packaging,” says Bava. “The bottles will be put through the sanitization process again, being reused once more after the process is completed. Should the packaging be damaged in any way, it will be sent to a recycling facility,” he says.

Only 22% of Brazilian cities currently offer recycling, according to a survey by Compromisso Empresarial pela Reciclagem (CEMPRE – Businesses Committed to Recycling). However, the recovery rates of recyclables are actually very high in Brazil: 97.7% of all aluminum, 66.2% of all paper and 56.8% of all plastic. In the case of plastic bottles, Brazil reuses 60% of all volume collected. In Europe, the figure is around 20%, according to CEMPRE’s management.

Teodoro Bava revealed that Reload is looking to scale up. “We have exciting projects to launch new products and lines, all of which will be packaged in reused bottles,” he said. “This model is at the core of Reload and we refuse to change the way we are. We have entered this new market to show we must rethink production and consumerism,” says Brava.

Renata Martins

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