Climate Action

LUSH confirms its Cork Pots are ‘carbon positive’

Natural beauty retailer Lush, claims to have developed the first ‘carbon-positive’ packaging in its attempt to create zero-waste packaging.

  • 27 August 2019
  • Camilla Watkiss

Natural beauty retailer Lush, claims to have developed the first ‘carbon-positive’ packaging in its attempt to create zero-waste packaging.

Lush has begun to use cork pots for its cosmetic products because it is biodegradable and requires trees to be planted but not cut down. These trees are harvested every ten years for cork which allows it enough time to grow back after it has been taken. The fact that more trees need to be planted to produce cork technically means that carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere, thus making the process ‘carbon positive’.

“Harvested from a living tree, it also has an exceptional ability to sequester carbon, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change chaos. The [Lush] team’s calculations suggest that each cork pot sequesters over one kilo of carbon dioxide gas (and this is a very conservative estimate). This compares with an aluminium pot which releases 9kg of CO2 for every kg of Aluminium created." Miles King, Natural Writer at Lush.

Nick Gumery, creative buyer for packaging at Lush thinks that Cork might be the answer to cut out plastic packaging altogether. Cork is a natural product, made from the inner layer under the bark of the Cork Oak tree.

Traditional used for wine bottle stoppers, Cork is actually anti-bacterial, fire retardant, water resistant, flexible, strong, easy to work and can be composted at the end of its life.

Lush is now buying 35,000 pots a year from Cork Connections with plans to increase this to 500,000 pots in a year’s time, ensuring that the pots they buy are produced from forests that are being restored. This means that they have to buy at a higher price to cover the cost of a forest restoration and regeneration programme.

The company has recognised that transport has a big impact on the products ‘carbon positive’ credibility and so is trialling bringing its Cork to the UK by sailboat, it has just received its first 6,000 pots this way.

“It’s a serious test of logistics and whether it makes business sense […] Lush is interested in its impact but wants to show, as an ethical business, it can still make a profit.” Nick Gumery. 

Photograph – Lush UK