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Kevin Murphy’s mission to reduce plastic pollution

  • News
  • June 27, 2019
  • Emily Bell
Kevin Murphy’s mission to reduce plastic pollution

Makeup, deodorant, cleansers are essentials used all over the world, every day. They are also part of a bigger picture and a much larger, growing problem; global plastic pollution. Hair product company Kevin Murphy is working on reducing its contribution to the problem by moving its range to recycled ocean plastics.

The beauty industry is one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution in the world. Most of your favourite products are covered in the stuff, and for reason – pliable, cheap and easily shaped, when it was created it was the most obvious choice for covering easily breakable product or liquid being transported to all corners of the globe. But as the world moves towards reusable metal straws and supermarkets clamp down on one-use plastic bags, it’s time the beauty industry does the same. 

The problem with plastic 

Last year, a Zero Waste Week campaign highlighted that the cosmetic industry processes a 120 billion units of packaging each year. Now, a staggering 150 million tonnes of plastic litter our oceans. 

As plastic is hard to break down (hundreds of years, to be exact), it’s either unrecycled or dumped in landfill to eventually overflow into our oceans to sit on the ocean floor or be consumed by sea life. This means in a short space of time, a large proportion of marine life will die out, meaning there will be more plastic than fish. If you’ve seen David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, you’ll know what we mean. It’s not good news for anyone involved.  

With brands like Lush opting to go ‘naked’ and introduce plastic-free products, awareness about the industry-wide problem is growing. Leading Aussie hair stylist Kevin Murphy is the first beauty brand to act on the dangers of plastic pollution and is intent on implementing a change in the industry. He is working on moving his entire brand to use 100 percent recycled ocean plastics (OWP), and to encourage others to do so. 

“I wanted to be part of the solution rather than the problem, so I wanted to do whatever we could whilst still retaining a positive experience of washing your hair. But it really comes down to cost, but hopefully the technology over time will cheapen, and be more accessible to other brands,” Murphy explains. 

The idea is to implement a circular supply chain. Murphy is producing new bottles that will float to the surface of the ocean and will be picked up by trawlers, eliminating the waste on the ocean floor. The bottles are in production and tests are being conducted. 

“The oceans are choked at the moment; they are at real breaking point. We have to act,” Murphy says.

“From August 2019 you will begin to see Kevin Murphy bottles made from 100 per cent OWP, working towards full line conversion of our bottles in 2020. Every time you choose a package that is made from OWP versus virgin plastic, it is the equivalent of removing 3-4 plastic bags from the ocean.”

Whilst other manufacturers have committed to using 25 to 30 percent OWP in their packaging, Murphy decided to use 100 percent, meaning that the entirety of the bottle will be ocean waste friendly. He intends to produce 14.5 million pieces of plastic in the production of the bottles next year from ocean waste, meaning that he will remove 360 tons of plastic from oceans. This is the equivalent of taking out 14 million plastic bottles from the sea.

Impact on retail 

This gradual awakening is sure to have an impact on global brands and retailers, as the pressure to become plastic-free in the industry gains consumers support. It could also have an impact on the price of the product as the cost to manufacture increases, as well as a rise of independent retailers that are choosing to go plastic-free. As it stands it will be interesting to see how the rest of the beauty industry reacts to Kevin Murphy’s initiative.  

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What the investment community thinks Kiwi businesses lead on the world stage with

  • News
  • July 16, 2019
  • Idealog
What the investment community thinks Kiwi businesses lead on the world stage with

Every business goes through a life cycle: start-up, growth, maturity and renewal, rebirth or decline. Once you’ve made it past the juicy, creative ideation stage and into the growth and maturity stage, the time for many comes to seek investment. But what do investors look for beyond a commercial return? And what do investors think New Zealand companies excel at when compared to our neighbouring countries around the world? Executive director of the Angel Association of New Zealand Suse Reynolds shares her top tips for those who are looking for investment.

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Foodstuffs’ Baden Ngan Kee has passed away

  • Who's Where
  • July 16, 2019
  • The Register team
Foodstuffs’ Baden Ngan Kee has passed away

Foodstuffs has announced that its former executive Baden Ngan Kee has passed away after a battle with lung cancer.

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2 Cheap Cars fined $438,000 under the Fair Trading Act

  • News
  • July 14, 2019
  • The Register team
2 Cheap Cars fined $438,000 under the Fair Trading Act

Used car dealer 2 Cheap Cars has been fined $438,000 for its use of “warranty waiver” documents and marketing statements described as “deliberately misleading”.

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  • In association with the IHA Global Innovation Awards (GIA)
  • July 13, 2019
  • Anne Kong
Retail's new best friend

As the heart and soul of retailing further evolves, stores and the essence of shopping will continue to morph in unimaginable ways. However, amidst the storm of change, there is one aspect of shopping that remains pure, constant and motivational – the aspirational moment. Anne Kong, member of the GIA expert jury, shares her thoughts.

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Bendon looks to sell brands after financing falters

  • News
  • July 12, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Bendon looks to sell brands after financing falters

Bendon lingerie is looking to sell some of its brands as the future of the company becomes more uncertain.

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Smirnoff Pure helps Kiwis discover local artists with Spotify partnership

  • News
  • July 11, 2019
  • Caitlin Salter
Smirnoff Pure helps Kiwis discover local artists with Spotify partnership

The music we love is made up of many influences, including where we live. In its latest campaign, Smirnoff Pure and YoungShand tapped into the unique vibes of New Zealand and set out to help Kiwis discover the music that moves the cities and suburbs they call home.

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