Beauty Store Business

JUN 2019

Beauty Store Business provides solutions for better retailing! New products, industry news, savvy business moves and important trends affecting both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are included in each issue.

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beautystorebusiness.com | June 2019 37 BEST PRACTICES Because of the various regulations that may be enforced depending on location, Mia Davis, director of mission for San Francisco-based clean-beauty retailer Credo, suggests contacting your municipality for the most accurate information on proper disposal. "In general, it's best to empty out the product in the garbage, not down the drain–empty the container, aerosol, etc. – before throwing away the packaging," Davis says. "If a facility sees nonrecyclable material mixed in with recyclable, the whole thing goes into the landfill or incinerator." Furthermore, as a retailer, you should be able to provide customers with guidance on proper disposal; Credo offers advice on each product and package stocked. Alternatively, Scheel recommends partnering with a company that has expertise in waste disposal to help navigate and understand your area's regulations, then set up a system for where and how to gather and store products properly. A company can then advise you on how frequently the goods should be picked up and plan a regular schedule. "Establish a certain area to gather materials; mark and label containers where they're accumulated to ensure they're labeled properly as hazardous waste; and segregate by product type or characteristic. For example, if they're flammable, keep them separate from toxics or corrosives," Scheel says. "It's probably a foreign concept to many retailers. The materials they use every day and sell to the public that sit on their shelves aren't routinely thought of as being hazardous waste – but when it comes to disposal, they are." Webb echoes this sentiment stating, "You wouldn't realize some things are hazardous waste – remember that this group can be pretty large. Stuff we can just throw away at home, businesses can't do that." FACING THE CONSEQUENCES When retailers don't follow the proper disposal methods, they may face serious ramifications. In fact, Webb points out that most major retailers have been sued by the state of California and entered into settlements for issues related to hazardous waste management, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Again, California has very stringent rules and stricter enforcement. Webb has even heard threats in the state to elevate noncompliance to a criminal offense. For now the price to pay comes in the form of civil penalties–that is, fines. There's a public relations cost too. "It's just bad PR for a business with sustainability being such a hot topic these days," Webb adds. Scheel agrees that you must follow existing regulations so as not to damage your brand or accumulate substantial fines for noncompliance. "It's a potentially damaging area of business practices that retailers need to focus on," Scheel stresses. "It's a focal point for inspectors in some states, because improper disposal is so dangerous to the environment. These materials can be toxic to aquatic and plant life and have an effect on drinking water supplies; or flammable materials in a dumpster can lead to substantial fire risk." He adds that fines can mount to $72,718 per violation, per day–and both consumers and regulators are now looking closely at a business's ecological impact. Finally, inspectors can also scrutinize stores to determine how hazardous products are stored on-site. In some areas, products can't be commingled even where they're stored. Webb further explains that a new EPA rule, which appears specific to hazardous waste in pharmaceuticals, contains a preamble with guidance for retail products in general – any unsold items that won't be thrown away. "Retailers can send to a reverse logistics facility, which may facilitate manufacturer credit, donation, liquidation or other types of reclamation," Webb says. "But in the new guidance, the EPA says these items can be sent to these facilities as long as there's a reasonable expectation of reuse or reclamation. If not, and it's going to be destroyed, the store must manage it as waste – and, if it's hazardous, it must be managed appropriately." ■ Tracy Morin is a freelance writer and editor based in Oxford, MS. Dumpster inspections are not uncommon in states such as California. BE THE SOLUTION While disposal is a crucial part of the equation, there are other ways to tackle the never-ending problem of waste. Mia Davis, director of mission for clean-beauty retailer Credo, offers these tips: A If products are dinged or not sellable at retail but remain usable and unopened, consider donating them to homeless shelters or hospitals. A Reduce packaging in the first place. Encourage manufacturers to think more sustainably about packaging and shipping materials. For example, with nail polish, some nail studios and manufacturers are taking back empty bottles. A There are a lot of ways retailers can be part of the solution in reducing packaging, like moving away from plastic to cans or glass containers. Retailers should see themselves as innovators in reducing waste, too! "We've even seen regulators and prosecutors do dumpster dives to test whether a retailer has an appropriate hazardous waste management program!" —Karlie Webb, counsel, Troutman Sanders, LLP nycshooter/gettyimages.com

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