A first for the cosmetics industry: Lush launches new Green Hub

Posted on 16 May 2023 by The Manufacturer

The Green Hub is a building that showcases Lush’s commitment to and investment in finding solutions for materials that could be considered as waste. With six core teams working together at the Green Hub, Lush is creating circular economies, working to close the loop on packaging and water waste, and find solutions to reuse, repurpose, repair and recycle materials from across their business.

Lush has operated a Green Hub facility since 2015, and recognising the potential of an in house location dedicated to waste management, the brand invested £2.3m in relocating to and refitting its new 40,000 sq ft premises on the Fleets Corner Business Park. With a building three times the size of its previous location, the capabilities of the Green Hub for processing and reinventing waste have upscaled and expanded.

Key functions of the new Green Hub include: granulating plastic as part of the brand’s closed loop Bring it Back recycling scheme; treating wastewater from their manufacturing and laundry processes; repairing machinery to prevent purchasing new; and donating surplus products and lifestyle items to charities and grassroots groups across the country.

In 2022, from the new location, Lush was able to recycle 81% of its UK Manufacturing waste, repair over 700 electrical items and donate more than 107,000 products and lifestyle items to those in need. In 2023, with the Green Hub running at its full capacity the capabilities are only set to grow. Using their PET and PPE plastic granulators, the Green Hub team will be able to process 20 tonnes of plastic per week in a closed loop, while the DAF water treatment unit will bring Lush’s wastewater treatment process in-house, processing 500 tonnes of dirty water each year and preventing the need to transport wastewater off-site.

As well as taking responsibility for its own waste, Lush wants to encourage and join others in finding solutions to waste problems. The Green Hub will be the first space the brand will be opening to the public on its UK Manufacturing campus, with a schedule of events, workshops and community engagement opportunities designed to allow for environmental focused education and collaboration between local and national businesses, councils, schools and community groups.

Ruth Andrade, Earthcare Strategy Lead for Lush

Ruth Andrade, Earthcare Strategy Lead for Lush said: “The best positive contribution we have made to the waste problem at Lush is to invent, manufacture and sell our revolutionary naked cosmetics, however, we also create creams, gels and gifts, and manufacture our own products, so we are still generating waste.

“We asked ourselves what would happen if, instead of dealing with materials as waste, we processed them to keep their value for longer? What would happen if we kept them in the loop? Then if we were to do this, how could we really know what happened to our materials at the end of their lives? To answer these questions, and to keep our waste traceable and ourselves accountable, the Green Hub was born.

“From the early days of the first Green Hub in 2015, it has been about much more than just ways to process materials, it has been about finding the hidden potential in the materials we use. From closing the loop on our black pots, to making sure none of the waste gets exported, from innovations like our climate positive cork storage pots, to planning our shop spaces using repurposed wood and fixtures, at the heart of the Green Hub is innovation.

“With this new big and better Green Hub, we can do much more, and more importantly open our doors for our community to design this journey with us.”

Stephen Bradley, Director of Investment Management at Federated Hermes, owners of Fleets Corner Business Park, commented: “The launch of Lush’s Green Hub is a significant moment for Fleets Corner Business Park, and for Poole, as it marks Lush’s continued expansion, and commitment to the area. It is brilliant to see the Green Hub officially launch, and we are proud to be a part of Lush’s pioneering sustainability initiatives.”

To find out more about the Green Hub, its functions and the teams who make it happen click here.

Read our previous feature on Lush here: Many hands make Lush work, a look inside the factory.