Episode 59 – Rae Stanton of Lush

Circular Economy Podcast - Episode 58 Rae Stanton - Lush Cosmetics

In this podcast, Rae Stanton of Lush Cosmetics talks to Catherine Weetman about Lush’s innovative approaches to packaging, including ‘naked’ packaging, new materials and bring-back initiatives that help Lush ‘close its own loop’ on packaging.

Rae Stanton is the Earthcare Retail Lead for Lush Cosmetics UK and Ireland, using Permaculture principles to provide environmental best practice insight and guidance on packaging, sourcing regenerative ingredients and much more.

We find out how Lush embeds Permaculture and regenerative agriculture approaches into its business practices, and why Lush realised it needed to ‘own the packaging solution’ instead of relying on municipal recycling collections.  

Rae explains how Lush engaged its customers in designing ‘bring-back’ solutions, including asking them how much the reward should be.

Podcast host Catherine Weetman is a circular economy business advisor, workshop facilitator, speaker and writer.  Her award-winning book: A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business includes lots of practical examples and tips on getting started.  Catherine founded Rethink Global in 2013, to help businesses use circular, sustainable approaches to build a better business (and a better world).

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Read on for a summary of the podcast and links to the people, organisations and other resources we mention.

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About Rae Stanton – Earthcare Retail Lead for Lush Cosmetics 

Rae Stanton - LushWorking for Lush for seven years, across Retail and Head Office Support teams, Rae currently sits within the Earthcare team at Lush UK & Ireland.

A range of experience across a varied career inside and outside Lush has embedded Rae’s passion for shaking up sustainability within the cosmetics industry and beyond. Working alongside industry specialists and internal experts, Rae’s current role is focused on providing environmental best practice insight across the Lush Retail business. 

As a company, Lush aims to ‘Leave The World Lusher Than We Found It’. Having a knowledgeable and invested community is key to achieving this vision.

Through internal communication and external outreach, Rae’s passion lies in facilitating an understanding of the importance of moving beyond sustainability towards regeneration, and, most importantly, turning this understanding into meaningful action.  

One day working on implementing national packaging schemes, the next creating staff training around regenerative ingredients sourcing and the importance of permaculture – the Lush Earthcare team certainly hold a diverse and ever-flexing role within the wider Lush business. 

Interview Transcript

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Catherine Weetman  03:55

After being inspired by the Lush case study from TU Delft. I’m curious to know more about the packaging ethos and a few examples of innovative approaches like naked packaging, cork tins and so on. Could you run through a few of those for us?

Rae Stanton  04:10

Yeah, yeah. Okay, this is a opening the floodgates for me to just waffle continuously for ages. So okay, let’s rein it in a bit. Yeah, anybody that knows us will probably know that we sell what we call naked products. So a bit like when you walk past the bakery, and you can smell the produce inside. People can often say they smell Lush and I’ve experienced it myself. You can smell it from down the street, you can just follow your nose, especially if you’re in a shopping mall and you’re not quite sure where abouts luscious because it’s a contained spaces where you can just sort of sniff around a bit usually find it and that was definitely a very deliberate part of the cosmetics creations way back in the early days, especially after Cosmetics-toGo, when Lush relaunched – lots of the packaging that was was stripped back and it was much more about the focus on the product, the ingredients that go into it, why they’re in there, what it’s going to do for your skin, for your senses for your hair. And so, being able to sort of strip back or minimalize unnecessary packaging really let the product shine through, I think it’s fair to say. And so that led us to this ‘naked revolution’ as such, so that now for example, we have solid versions of most of our ranges. So we’ve got solid base moisturisers, we’ve got solid shampoo and conditioners, shampoo bars are really taking the world by storm at the moment. And we invented those around 20 years ago, I think also. And so that’s really great to see those sorts of things, despite sort of jumping on board with that, and I’m thinking like, yeah, this is the way to go, we don’t need all of this excess packaging. And we also have things that you wouldn’t necessarily think like body moisturisers and lotions, hair colour, so solid hair colour in the way of our solid Henna blocks that are encased in loads of lovely cocoa butter. So yeah, if we can take the if we could solidify a product and we can take away the packaging. Why not? Because not only are you minimising the packaging, but then it’s minimising the water usage, say that goes into the product, because lots of cosmetics are predominantly water, we look at the ingredients list. And so being able to reduce that is greater benefits with the ingredients being able to be used directly. And also the less water in this climate that we’re in and being much more responsible stewards of water is really, really advantageous. And then what about the packaging that we do have, because obviously, lots of our products around half or just over half of our products are available naked, but that leaves a large percentage of products that still come in packaging. So typically, our packaging is often black, plain, recycled and recyclable, PP, so polypropylene plastic. And it’s very much mimics like white writing like chalk on a chalkboard. So in the early days, until now, where we have sort of slates or boards in the shop with the the chalk writing on with like the product information or the product name in the early days, I believe that they were just small slates that the staff would write up when the fresh products were made. So this was such and such a face mask, and that signage would lie on the ice. So it was very much sort of staying true to their aesthetic. But allowing us obviously, to have the material that allows the product inside to stay fresh for as long as as it can do with minimal preservatives, etc. And so people can notice that our packaging, it also happened. Yeah,

Catherine Weetman  08:02

just to ask about the the black polypropylene. And then is that a similar principle to the reason that it’s used for meat in that it helps keep the product fresh, fresh for longer? Because of excluding the light and so on?

Rae Stanton  08:17

Yeah, that’s a that’s a really good, good question. And I am not a plastics chemist or a technologist. So I’m not going to emphatically give too much info and just sort of make it sound like I, I can go into all of that chemistry. However, yeah, that omission of lights and the UV protection that the dark plastic offers. And the way it can help to stabilise the microbiology of the product inside is definitely a real deciding factor in why we go for plastic. And also we’re able to close through that plastic in the UK and other markets, we’ve got fantastic system whereby we can take back that plastic and reuse it. And we can source a fully recycled feedstock as we call it. So we’re not having to use virgin plastic in the manufacturer of that anymore since about 2008 I believe, which is really, really fantastic. So yeah, so we move on to some of the things that you mentioned Catherine about, like, let’s move away from the naked that we talked about and the plastic, but what about everything else and definitely have to mention cork because our core parts that really sort of exploded onto the scene in 2019 are made from Portuguese cork. And the wonderful thing about cork is that as a material if done correctly, it can be genuinely regenerative. So not only is it carbon neutral, or we carbon offsetting, for example, the the impact is actually carbon positive as we call it which means that the production And the maintenance of these crock pots and the courts, subsequent cork oak forests sequester more carbon around three times more carbon than the individual weight of the pot. So if you have a little part of that weighs around 33 grammes, that’s five grammes, we know that it’s actually so cost three times that amount of co2 equivalent. And through the the trees basically stay alive because the cork is harvested from the outside with very much care to ensure that their tree in the forest is sort of thriving and staying healthy. And they can only be harvested around every nine years, I think it is. So that tree once it’s been harvested, and stripped of that outer bark is then left alone to rebuild and recuperate that cork again. And I think they have to be about 50 years old before they are even allowed to be harvested at all. And so the partners that we have in Portugal are very, very, sort of strict with that, working with nature and really supporting that ecosystem. And they are a local community, very family run business, that this way of harvesting corn, because they are maintaining the forests has been passed down through generations. And so it’s the sort of all elements of regeneration, it just is such a great example because it’s a yes, the carbon sequestration but also the social, the social permaculture and that community, just this aspect of supporting communities to be individual, sorry, independent, and resilient themselves so that they can maintain their livelihoods the way they want to our cork parks are currently in the small round pots that fit a shampoo bar perfectly in or you can add, can face cleansers around little circular face cleansers around in there as well. And we are looking at other ways in which we can utilise coke in our in our products as well because it’s just such a fabulous material. And they are created very minimal, minimally invasively. So they’re still created by hand, there’s no sort of lacquers and chemicals used in the production of them. The machinery is, is quite sort of long lasting and very minimal again, like the shaping the cutting and the sort of moving machinery is really interesting to watch. I think on YouTube on love YouTube, there are some videos where you can actually see the whole process in a really short space of time. So definitely check that out.

Catherine Weetman  12:34

Brilliant. Well, that exemplifies transparency, doesn’t it?

Rae Stanton  12:37

Yes, yes. Yeah, absolutely. And then cork if I touch really quickly on paper, as well, we’ve got several sources of paper and fabric that we use to wrap gifts in or you can’t see it on the podcast, but I am supporting one of our knot raps today, which is a headscarf as I’m wearing it, but fabric wrapping. And these are all examples of us doing things a bit differently with regards to gifts and when people do want some, some extra packaging and or when people want things to be able to look nice and unique, give things as a gift, or for themselves. There’s loads of different things that we have. And I chose a couple of things that are locked a paper certainly, I wanted to mention and this is hand made Nepalese fibre paper. And again, I believe having a little look on YouTube, there’s some really lovely pictures and videos of the people we’re partnering with. And this again, is the fibres are taken from plants that remain alive so there isn’t that like monoculture cropping and taking everything away and really decimating any ecosystem it’s very much taking a bit and leaving a lot. So that really nice mantra really and they are the locks of paper can be found on some of our gifts but also we’re selling some of it in small sheet rolls as well. So if you were going to buy wrapping paper for example, wrap your own gift in whether it’s Lush or not. And this is an option and it’s also because it’s so fibrous, it’s it’s quite strong, and it’s designed to be able to be kept in use and you know when you get even get a gift that’s in really beautiful wrapping in your life. I can’t throw that paper where I’m going to reuse it or I’m going to back some photos in a frame with it or I’m going to cut it off and make paper chains with my children with it or whatever it might be. That’s exactly what this is designed for. for keeping for longer. If somebody didn’t want it, they could compost it at home but why? You know why would you want to because it really

Catherine Weetman  14:50

sounds great. And you’ve also got some new vintage styles with with refillable packaging, maybe you could bring a few of those into into the picture.

Rae Stanton  15:04

Yeah, so is that the the lipstick refill case?

Catherine Weetman  15:09

Thinking of lipstick refills, highlighter sticks, that that kind of thing?

Rae Stanton  15:14

Yeah, sure. One area that our co founder Rowena Birds been very focused about over the last few recent years, is makeup, and how we can really tackle the issue of single use or very mixed material makeup packaging. As a cosmetics business, you might have seen the figure I think there’s an estimated 128 billion individual items of often single use packaging a year created and a huge portion of that is attributed to the makeup scene, and makeup sticks, push ups, stick pallets etc. are often single use whether we use them all up at all, actually, before we move on to the next thing, so that’s been a real passion project for Rowena who heads up our sort of makeup, vision and lead and also creates a lot with our very small makeup team. And one of the things that has come onto the scene is a vintage style, aluminium lipstick case. And you can buy them as they are with no lipstick in and you buy the lipstick separately. And the idea is that they are refillable, reusable over and over again, we went for the metal to build in this value. And this the the vintage style. So is it push up rather than a twist up, which is a very sort of classy, vintage style feels very like Hollywood movie star. And it automatically feels very much like something that you want to keep. And obviously with the circular economy, this is what we really need to be focusing on is building and building out of innovating out waste when necessary, is very necessary, but also building into in value right into the packaging or the materials and the offerings that we do have as retail outlets. And so why not create something that is still minimal in a way like that the certainly, they’re not big, chunky, huge bells and whistles, lipstick cases, they’re very sleek, they’re very small, they’re nice and minimalist, they’re very easy to carry with you, they’re not too heavy, either. So it’s still nice and sleek and minimal. But it really feels like you’re just not going to want to throw that away, it’s quite obviously been built to last and to carry on. And so we’re we’re very much hoping that we can sort of help to bring that element of keep reuse, and just sort of restock upon the different lipsticks that you have, by having that sort of set amount of cases that you can just change over the colours. And then the highlight of the sticks or trick sticks that we have and sort of concealers and naked foundations, etc. Or make it in inverted commas and they have a wax seal on the Mall, they have a wax almost like they get the wax at the onset so that you can hold it to be able to use it. And then obviously you can put it in your own container. You can I know lots of people have a container leftover and they’re actually like pressing it into like a little pallet if they’ve got a reusable pallet or a little tub so that they’re washing it into it so it fits neater. And it’s that’s how they want to use it. And so yeah, completely naked or reusable, is the direction of travel. We’re not like fully there yet with everything. But that’s definitely where we’re heading with makeup on and with all of our packets.

Catherine Weetman  18:56

So you work as part of the Earthcare internal consultancy team with your motto, across Lush to “leave the world Lusher than you found it”. Could you unpack what the team does in a bit more detail for us?

Rae Stanton  19:13

Yeah, yeah, sure. So as you say, Our team of around nine people. It’s just recently expanding a little bit with a couple of extra roles coming on board but still relatively small group. We act as internal consultants, as you said, and we we all span various different areas of the business. We all have our specialty niches from retail, manufacturing, finance, strategy, lead, etc. So we really tried to strongly base our approach to our own team and the rest of the business on regenerative, permaculture techniques. We often try to act as a testbed or willing human guinea pigs for experimenting with social permaculture techniques. For example, and we It’s great to be associated cratic team with joint decision making, we have a lot of autonomy individually in our work, we’re not micromanaged. We self reflect as a team a lot. So we’re trying to live our values and also sort of give people the benefit of our experience in the wider business on how things can run, because Lush is always about that, like, how could things be? It doesn’t, things don’t have to be as they are now. Because you know, these things aren’t working on a global scale. So we’ve got to, we’ve got to change things up pretty well. We essentially aim to scope out environmental and ethical best practice and feed this back into the business on many levels and support with letting our customers know and those wider brand messages as well. So let people know what we’re up to and why. My role specifically, often works closely with the creation of public facing brand messaging, and community engagement, which is a part of my job that I really, really love. The term leaving the world Lusher than we found it was something our team embodied probably, initially, and we really use that as our focus. But now as you say, it’s the it’s the sort of phrase and the vision that we’re holding ourselves to as a wider business increasingly, and not just in the UK and Ireland, but lots of all different partner and great markets getting on board with that. And we’re starting to work together much more. So we’re supporting global team members all around. I mentioned about the permaculture and the social permaculture before so the basic tenets of Earth care, people care and fair share, are what we’re trying to encapsulate and make sure that we’re creating value in those areas at all times the team.

Catherine Weetman  21:51

And it’s such a great phrase, isn’t it “leaving the world Lusher than we found it”, it’s just embodying, kind of puts a picture in your mind of everything being being better, but in a in a kind of really, you know, green and nature based way? I really like it. So coming coming back to packaging, Rae, could you talk us through one of the projects, and I’m thinking maybe the black plastic, polypropylene pots, because I can imagine people thinking that’s such a problematic material. And I know you’ve done quite a lot of work on that particular packaging.

Rae Stanton  22:33

Yeah, yeah, that you can’t sort of skirt around the issue that we use, we use a lot of plastic as largely anyone that walks past our shops was bought online knows that. And like we said before, lots of our products still come packaged. That equates to millions of items of packaging in the UK and Ireland alone every year. And there’s no getting away from that. And so what we really wanted to do was if we’re going to use plastic, and these are the reasons why, and we’re going to use black plastic, and these are the reasons why some that we’ve already mentioned, but what we need to do is we need to own it. So we need to own it figuratively and literally. So whilst developing and innovating and trying to really pioneer naked promotes and alternative sources of packaging. We wanted to ensure that we are taking responsibility wholly for the plastic that we are putting out into the world. And that is largely the PP black box as you say that’s our like iconic packaging style. But also we have some clear e t and we have some clear PP as well. So the there are slightly different three, three main plastics that we use. And we’ve always taken the we’ve always offered the incentive to bring back your black pots since 2008 where people can bring back five empty pots black or clear actually the PP pots and get a free fresh face mask of their choice in the shop. And we had that was a successful scheme and we have approximately over the last few years barring Austria with the pandemic which was a bit of an anomaly but we have around half a million pots come back from largely our UK and Ireland but some international customers as well per year and they come back to our green hub in pool for processing. But that very much fast forward to 2021 and that very much is not our we don’t want to stop there. That’s not okay, that’s not enough. So whilst we offer people the opportunity to bring back their pots, we’re also using 100% PCR so post consumer recycled material in most of our plastic not just our PP actually but again still not enough. So we want to be able to take responsibility, like I said that that vision of owning our plastic and it not being the customers responsibility to have to find the right recycling route for it. Obviously, plastics even if it says recyclable, and technically it really is recyclable, the infrastructure that we have in many different countries, not just the UK and not even the country, but in the province somewhere in the municipality, like the difference, the disparity between access to different recycling schemes is such that you can’t rely on the curbside recycling the council local authority based recycling, to be able to do what we would like it to be able to do at the moment. And that is recycle PP, to a to a good standard and etc. and HDPE. PET –  polyethylene terephthalate – is a bit easier. That’s why water bottles are made out of drinks bottles so that there is a bit of a better market for that. But PP can be a bit problematic. So hence, was wanting to bring it back, ask people to bring it back. And not just our PP, but all of our plastic, like, let’s just throw down the gauntlet and say to people like we’re putting it out there, please bring it back to us. At the same time, we want to make sure that we’re trying to ensure our packaging is reusable, wherever possible. So keep it use it, reuse it so that they’re quite sturdy, you know, these bottles and the pots, they can be reused for lots of different things. But if you’re done with it, give it a clean out, bring it back to one of our stores, and you can have an incentive. And the incentive is every qualifying packaging item that customers bring back to us, they can get 50 pence towards their shopping that day in store. And there’s no minimum or maximum. So someone can bring back one item and get 50 Pence, they can bring back five pounds, or one to 10 pounds, etc. I think this scheme now has been going since we reopened after the pandemic in April. And we’ve had over 80,000 individual items brought back to us just through the bring it back scheme, which is amazing. And I say just to bring it back scheme, because the five items for a fresh face masks still exists. If people were happy with the scheme the way it was, and they’re like, no, that’s how I want to get my fresh face masks, then that’s really cool. So obviously, that figure of 80,000 is actually higher when we add in the people that have chosen to bring five back for a fresh mask as well. Our laps us sort of trying to whilst we’re innovating to make us better, as we would say packaging materials to navigate this infrastructure and try and support a circular economy infrastructure by moving more and more towards using post consumer recycled but also then closed looping that materials so that it can cycle over and over again. Whilst we’re doing all that from the customer point of view, we wanted to be like, Okay, what what’s the very least we can do? Well, the least we can do is take responsibility for that waste, so to speak, that we’re putting out there. So it isn’t waste, it can be valuable. This is the whole thing about circularity is, you know, not putting out things that are then sort of dead and gone. And whilst we’re doing that, whilst our customers are doing that, sorry, we will be behind the scenes working to innovate and develop as we go. So the recycling scheme is not the be all and end all of everything. It’s just the very, the very least we should be doing for our customers and for the planet. Like right now.

Catherine Weetman  28:32

How did you decide to come up with, you know, where did the 50 p come from? Was that just a shot in the dark? Or? Was it more scientific?

Rae Stanton  28:42

Yeah, okay. And it certainly wasn’t a shot in the dark. We we knew that our customers were very open to having money towards their shopping, because we did an open question survey on all social media. In 2020, during the lockdown asking our customers, what would incentivize them to bring their packaging back? What did they want, and money off was very high up there. And so we’d like okay, this is something we’ve been working on it previously to the pandemic 2020 year, but that really gave us a bit of downtime, so to speak, to get into the the admin of it and the costing model and how we were going to run it. And so it seemed to be a good balance between obviously it needs to be enough of an interest attractive incentive for customers. So if you say maybe 10 pence per pop, if they’re buying something for the average spend within Lush say, around 14 pounds, say at that time, then being able to have 20, 30, 40 pence towards the shopping, not necessarily as attractive, whereas if you start if it’s more sort of 2, 3,4 pounds, five pounds, then it’s a fair offering for our customers essentially it’s higher And the amount that it costs us as a company to buy the plastic. So that’s not the that wasn’t the reasoning. It’s not like this is what the plastic is worth to us financially, but we did factor in or what is it worth, you know, again, with, with everything that we’re talking about this circularity and regeneration, there is value very valuable, and sort of payoff that is not financial at all. So adding the financial value as long as it works financially, and of course, it has to, things have to balance. But what is the additional value to that, to support us in supporting a circular economy and being able to really have that insight for ourselves. So that value is sort of built into that 50 pence as well. And different markets are doing I think, Australia, New Zealand, it’s $1. And so it has to be based on, you know, what seems a fair deposit return scheme in the UK and Ireland, we don’t really have deposit return schemes in the same as lots of other markets do. And so it’s a bit more difficult because it is a little bit like you say, it can feel a bit like a shot in the dark, because we don’t have that infrastructure. We’re not used for that anymore in the UK, unfortunately. So it’s like, where do we how do we sort of price this and pitch it? But we’ve communicated quite well, I think, with our customers and stuff the whole way along them. And people seem to be like, yeah, this was going to be this was going to be for them, they can still have the face mask, if that’s their bag, and that’s what they want to do. But if they would rather have 50 pence, a pound – apound, however much is off their shopping, then yeah, people were really happy with that. And it seemed to go down very well. So we quite quickly felt, okay, we’ve we’ve hit the nail on the head, and it’s going to be successful.

Catherine Weetman  31:43

Fantastic. And I think it’s, it’s a great way of engaging with customers, isn’t it to actually ask, ask them? What would you like us to do? And, and, you know, how much how much do you want us to pay for this? So it sounds as if, you know, there are some amazing projects on the go at the moment in lotion, and obviously things that you’ve been doing and evolving for years. So if you were to talk to somebody in business, who’s thinking about going circular, or somebody who wants to do a circular economy startup, what would be your top tips?

Rae Stanton  32:21

Okay. So I think that when I was having a little think about this after we’d spoken last time, Catherine, and I think the most useful breakthrough professionally, for me, was definitely understanding and internalising the notion that ethics are good for business, it isn’t something that you have to do. Additionally, it isn’t something that is a box ticking exercise, or that is some is going to cause you extra admin time, or, you know, be a real ball and chain, I suppose, around your neck. If built into your model early on, even more advantageous, because you can, you know, really sort of hit the ground running. If you’re an estabLushed business, it’s maybe more difficult to sort of reverse engineer things. And that can be where the time needs to be taken. But it’s still so worth doing. Because you know, speed is the only way that we’re going to be able to maintain, develop and evolve business imbedded in communities in the future. Like, to me there is no other option like it’s going to come sooner or later. And people are going to realise that this is the way that we have to evolve. And why can’t it be good? Like if you’re, if you know where your materials are coming from, you know, how they’re being processed, and you know, face to face, and the names of the people that are supplying these raw materials, for example, for us lots of its natural grown ingredients, but it could be materials created fabrics, anything, depending on what business you’re in. And what what’s the downside to that really, you know, if you if all the way through your value chain, you sort of know, where you’re at, you know, the people, you know, how those materials are being created. And then you can share that with your customers. So it’s a whole cycle, isn’t it, that it, it helps to build your brand.

Catherine Weetman  34:25

I think you’re right, and I think more and more companies are realising that this is an investment for the future. It might impact short term profits, but it’s the direction of travel and more and more people expect the companies they buy from to be doing the right thing and a shot. If they find out they’re not. So you know, your reputations on the line and as we know, with social media these days, you know, news, good and bad, spreads fast. And I think there are there are lots of people do deciding that what they buy is a way of telling the world what they believe in and what they stand for. Just this morning, I noticed on a group I’m in the new a new word to me – climatarian – which was about diets. So it was about changing your diet, so it was better for the climate. And I had a quick look at the article. And apparently, the term was, was first publicised back in 2015. But maybe these kind of different different ways of approaching how you eat, how you know, what you wear, what you put on your skin, and so on. Maybe those are going to become more and more important because people want to be able to show everybody else that they’re doing things that are good for the rest of us and for nature. And which of your your values do you think helps to move us towards a better world? And why?

Rae Stanton  36:03

Yeah, this is a, this is a really nice and thought provoking thing to get. So personally, for me, the most significant value that I try to keep at the forefront of my mind is to value what I have. And that sounds a little bit trite sometimes. But being being thankful for what I have and realising actually, how much I do have is something that I feel like means more sometimes it can sound a little bit empty, or a little bit like something that’s written on a mug, but you might say, but not not only to like reuse materials and to give things a new life, etc, but also to try and engender within myself like this mental shift away from just being a consumer. And what do I have, and all the things that I’ve got going on in my own life and the things, the skills that I have the value that I can share for myself, for the people close to me, but for the wider community and the world as a whole and away from just physical tangible materials. I am a real collector of lots of hobbies. So I have a lot of things. And so first and foremost, I’ve sort of put a bit of an embargo on buying brand new things a few years ago now and I find but be honest, I can live my life by secondhand pretty easily and very rarely have to buy anything new. Being creative, you know, like creative about what you can use for what or where you get things from or whether you can rent something rather than buy it or be a bit cheeky and ask your friends if you can borrow something that you only need for a short time, you know, and that’s something that we just don’t that really do. It’s not it’s not seen as acceptable to be like, Can I borrow your lawnmower? So I don’t really want to buy one because then you need it right now. For example, for example, you can tell what a great allotment neighbour I am. I’m like, Oh, can I borrow that?

Catherine Weetman  38:07

A few podcasts well, it’s probably about 20 podcasts ago now. I did a couple of interviews with people running tool libraries. And that’s a great way of getting things shared in the in the community. So, right, who would you recommend as a future guest for the programme?

Rae Stanton  38:26

Okay, so there’s two different groups, so many, so, so many, but I was thinking about localization actually, and how that is very much the future and certainly localization of food and food production and that the resilience and the sustainability or future sustainability that that will bring to us. And so that’s why I chose two different urban regenerative food organisations when in and around London, so very heavily urbanised areas that is Jack’s Patch, which is an urban allotment and growing initiative, and I would definitely suggest it for people to have a little look take a little look at Jack’s Patch on Instagram and online and Edible London as well which are an organisation and creating and providing really great food from food that was going to go to waste, essentially, and again, you can find them on social media as well. And I have a previous workmate that works for Edible London as well.

Catherine Weetman  39:37

Fantastic. So that sounds slightly different to the Incredible Edible movement, which is all about kind of guerilla gardening and planting herbs and fruit and veg in public spaces for anybody to come and use but Edible London that’s about stopping food going to waste so i’ll i’ll look that up. sounds fascinating. Yeah, yeah. And rehab. can people find out more and get in touch with you and Lush?

Rae Stanton  40:04

Okay, so I’ve seen them, the main website for Lush, if you want to know more about the things that we’ve been talking about is slightly different. We’ve got an e commerce website making obviously buy our products, and we’ve just started a brand new commerce website. So that is some things are sort of migrating over at the moment. So there might be some information you’re looking for that isn’t on there. So we would head to we are got Lush.com. And this is the website, you can’t buy any of our products on that website. But this gives you loads of background information on our policies, where we started some top figures about our environmental our socially, social justice, environmental justice, wildlife justice area, so things that the way we think about things and the way we feel about things, and some more concrete policies and things we’ve done as well. You can head to the last spring prize website, which is all about land on social permaculture, and that’s a biannual prize that we offer to different groups can apply for funding. So that’s really cool. And you can get in touch in general with the luscher a lot longer than we found it with the earth care team through latia, than we found it on Instagram, or you can email us at earthcare Lush co.uk. And if you want to get in touch with Lush in general, and not necessarily the earth care team, you can email wecare@Lush.co.uk. And that goes straight through to our customer care team.

Catherine Weetman  41:37

Excellent, thank you. And I’ll put all those links in the show notes. And it’s been great to hear just a few of the brilliant things that you’re doing. I’m sure we could have spent probably two or three episodes, diving into some of the other packaging innovations. And obviously, there’s the whole ethos behind the products and all the ethics and lots of other ways that you’re leaving the world Lusher than you found it I think that’s such a such a great motto. Thank you very much Rae and good luck with the next batch of ‘Lusher than we found’ it earthcare projects.

Rae Stanton  42:13

Amazing. Thank you all so much. So come and join us the movement is open to everybody the latter than we found it movement. The more the merrier. Whether you are a business or an individual, get on board.

Catherine Weetman  42:23

Fantastic. Thanks Rae.

Rae Stanton  42:25

Thank you

Want to find out more about the circular economy?

If you’d like to learn more about the circular economy and how it could help your business, why not listen to Episode 1, or read our guide: What is the Circular Economy

To go deeper, you could buy Catherine’s book, A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business. This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach, and includes hundreds of real examples from around the world, to help you really ‘get’ the circular economy.  Even better, you’ll be inspired with ideas to make your own business more competitive, resilient and sustainable. 

Please let us know what you think of the podcast – and we’d love it if you could leave us a review on iTunes, or wherever you find your podcasts.  Or send us an email

Podcast music

Thanks to Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, otherwise known as the brilliant, inventive and generous folk duo, O’Hooley & Tidow for allowing me to use the instrumentals from the live version of Summat’s Brewin’ as music for the podcast. You can find the whole track (inspired by the Copper Family song “Oh Good Ale”) on their album, also called Summat’s Brewin’.  Or, follow them on Twitter.

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