Following successful trials in Milan and Berlin, ethical cosmetics retailer Lush has opened a ‘naked’ plastic-free store in Manchester which makes use of innovative materials and AI technology.
The new store, which opened on 17 January, is the company’s first in the UK to follow its ‘Naked Shop’ concept.
The company has always been an industry leader in reducing packaging, but the new concept allows customers to shop for cosmetics - even traditionally plastic-heavy products like shower gel - in a completely plastic packaging-free environment.
Lush product inventor, Alessandro Commisso, said: “When we look at the plastic waste produced by the global cosmetics industry, we know it is a problem, and we know that raising awareness is really important. But we can’t talk about ditching packaging until we have a solution.”
Alternatives in place include ‘regenerative’ cork containers that are helping to support sustainable cork forests in Portugal. To eliminate the need for product labelling packaging, the company has also developed a ‘Lush Lens’ mobile app that uses AI product recognition to provide customers with information on each product.
Naked stores are also stocked with a ‘plastic-free library’ that provide further education on zero waste and ocean plastics.
‘Better value for money’
“In Lush we work in an industry where the packaging costs the customer more than the product. Now, the customer needs to worry about how to recycle something they didn’t want to buy in the first place. This seems like a raw deal to us. If we can cut out all the plastic packaging, we can give our customers better value for money”, explained Mark Constantine, Lush co-founder and managing director.