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L’Oréal Hong Kong’s green beauty consumer survey unveils increasing awareness on environmental issues amidst COVID-19

L’Oréal Hong Kong announced the results of their Green Beauty Consumer Survey on 17 March, ahead of “Global Recycling Day” the following day. In line with “L’Oréal for the Future”, the Group’s global sustainability commitment, the survey uncovers the latest local trends on consumer behaviour towards beauty, and points towards higher awareness yet meagre action when it comes to recycling.

Commissioned by L’Oréal Hong Kong, the survey of 1,000 male and female Hong Kong beauty product consumers, aged 18 to 50, conducted by the independent research company Yougov in February 2021 reveals the following key takeaways:

Consumer awareness on environmental issues has increased during the pandemic:

  • 80% of the respondents are more aware of the heightened strain placed on the environment by the surge in use of non-recyclable face masks and gloves as well as the increase in food delivery waste.
  • 70% of the respondents claim that they are serious about issues concerning the environment and are willing to take more action to reduce their use of plastic.



However, this increased awareness does not translate into action towards environmental protection:

  • Only 30% of the respondents took proper measures to recycle used beauty containers and packaging.
  • Nearly half (47%) of the respondents directly threw away the used containers or packaging, or just put them aside at home.

Beauty brands need to find more ways to engage the younger generation:

  • If they know the packaging is recyclable, 61% of the respondents claimed that they are more likely to recycle product containers they have used. The intention is relatively higher in the group aged 41 to 50.
  • Compared with the age groups of 31 to 40 (64%) and 41 to 50 (69%), respondents aged 18 to 30 were least engaged in recycling (52%), with 48% of them demonstrating low or no intention of recycling.

The major barriers to recycling indicated room for improvement in beauty brand recycling programmes in the market:

  • Only 35% of the respondents are aware of beauty brand recycling programmes in the market, and only 23% of the respondents have participated in these programmes.
  • Major barriers towards recycling were poor access to recycling facilities (41%) and inadequate recycling points in Hong Kong (32%).
  • Other reasons include the lack of details on the recycling programme (26%), unfamiliarity with the recycling process (23%) and not receiving/paying attention to such information (21%).

Consumers showed uncertainty about the recyclability of beauty product packaging and containers:

  • 64% of the respondents are not clear about which beauty products’ packaging or containers (including different cosmetics and skincare products) can be recycled in the market.
  • The most commonly known recyclable beauty product containers or packaging are face cream (55%) and serum (50%).
  • Less than 30% of the respondents are aware of the recyclability of the containers or packaging of other beauty products, such as compact powder cases, lipstick cases, sachet packages, mask packages, brow pencils and mascara tubes.

In line with the Group’s global sustainability vision “L’Oréal for the Future”, L’Oréal Hong Kong has been committed to promoting the green development of the beauty industry and addressing the recycling issues related to its products. The survey results also indicate that 62% of the respondents are more likely to recycle their products if in-store recycling is available.

As such, L’Oréal Hong Kong is kicking off its first-ever cross-brand recycling programme across the city with its 13 beauty brands. Kiehl’s, Lancôme and L’Oréal Paris will be taking the lead in accepting used product containers at their stores from this month. By the end of Q2 2021, the programme will cover the Group’s other 10 beauty brands in Hong Kong, contributing together to Hong Kong’s sustainable development through joint effort of the brands. Partnering with local environmental social enterprise V Cycle, beauty packaging which can be recycled in the programme includes not only plastic bottles but also glass and metal parts of the beauty products such as mascara tubes, brow pencils tubes and body, lipstick cases and compact powder cases, etc.

“The survey has helped us better understand the local consumer attitude and behaviour towards sustainability,” said Eva Yu, President & Managing Director of L’Oréal Hong Kong. “We are at a critical point with regards to the future of our planet, and we welcome the increased awareness on this front. As a leader in the beauty industry, our goal is to work closely with our local community to drive sustainability and take actions with consumers to preserve the environment. As such, our first-ever recycling campaign is designed to do exactly this.”

“Having worked alongside L’Oreal Hong Kong for 2 years, we’re we’re delighted and grateful for the opportunity to step up our efforts in this exciting citywide recycling programme,” said Eric Swinton, Founder and CEO at V Cycle. “In offering people a platform to recycle and reuse valuable resources, we are creating a circular economy that benefits both the environment and our society, while changing consumption habits by stemming the inflow of plastic. We are confident that together with L’Oreal Hong Kong, we will raise consumer awareness on the need to recycle and that this initiative will inspire people to take action.”