What’s so lush about LUSH?

Filed in Blog by on September 10, 2010 8 Comments
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lovely goodies from LUSH

lovely goodies from LUSH

As you’ll be aware, one lucky winner participating in National Zero Waste Week this year can win a £50 voucher for LUSH.

We wanted to choose companies who had great environmental policies, and LUSH tick all the boxes.

What I’m particularly impressed by is their packaging and recycling policies.

LUSH sell innovative products like their solid shampoo bars. This means no plastic packaging to dispose of; in fact LUSH have saved nearly 6 million plastic bottles globally from selling shampoo bars alone!

The other week I bought some bath ballistics from them – they came in yellow paper bags with ideas for reuse and recycling written on them. If you buy direct from their shops, many of LUSH’s products are available naked – you can take home around half their products au natrelle.

LUSH’s passion is to get rid of packaging when designing a product. Where packaging is unavoidable, 90% of it is recycled. After you’ve finished slathering yourself in all sorts of heavenly-smelling goodies, LUSH like you to reuse, recycle or compost the packaging and aim to make this easy for their customers. For example if you return 5 of their black pots to their stores they give you a free fresh face mask and reuse or recycle the pots themselves.

As you know, we get a bit tough on the manufacturers who make packaging and then expect us to throw it away. Not so with LUSH! They go to great lengths to avoid sending waste to landfill even in the manufacturing of their products. All organic waste at the UK factory is sent for composting, plastic gets recycled in the UK and wood waste gets burned in their biomass boiler. They also donate to charities any products which are fit for use but not for sale.

What a great company! LUSH show how, with a little thought and forward-thinking design, a successful business can be both successful and environmentally responsible.


This week I started talking about eating organic food on a budget, as it’s also Organic Food Fortnight. The number one tip to affording organic goodies is not to waste any food that you buy.

Juliet over on Crafy Poet this week shared her idea for making green tea go a little further. She taught me things about it I never knew. Personally I’m not a tea or coffee drinker, but I do remember the days of enjoying a cup of strong tea or ten during the day. Juliet’s findings really surprised me and it means she can buy organic tea at one quarter of the usual price!

According to the organic Trade Board, you can enjoy an organic breakfast for between 6% and 14% cheaper than non organic. Shopping around you can find organic butter, bread and coffee cheaper than its non organic alternatives, whereas eggs, milk and tea cost either the same or more in organic versions. if you’ve got the time then it pays you to shop around.

Let’s see what some of our fabby zero waste bloggers have been up to:
Yesterday Mrs A had another fantastic meal courtesy of Saints Cafe dustbin. well, not quite, but you know what I mean.

Caroline made her ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ risotto and has plans for the chicken carcass too.

Over on Organikal, Julie was very sneaky with some left over curry sauce with a simple recipe that had my mouth watering.

Our friend Harriett from Cafe Direct has been gradually reducing her waste for a long time and shared some of the ways she manages to do this.

This afternoon I’ll be showing you how I’m not only making sure I don’t waste food this week, but I’m using up old plastic too!

National Zero Waste Week is sponsored by Tetra Pak. Around 20% of the UK´s greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food production, distribution and storage. Long life cartons keep the product until you need it, helping to save food waste.  (Source: http://www.wrap.org.uk/retail/food_waste/index.html)


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (8)

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  1. Karin says:

    Lush’s policy on packaging is highly commendable, but I have reservations about using products that contain ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which some people think may be harmful to human health and the environment. Moreover, this ingredient is made from fossil fuels, something we need to be conserving.

    Looking forward to see what you are doing to use up old plastic.

  2. sandy says:

    Lush is wonderful, if you ask for “no extra packaging” when you order on line, you dont get any, just corn and cardboard.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Karin: Hi Karin, I hear you on this – we personally avoid SLS; I tend to favour using clay on my skin and hair but it is more time intensive, so I have a bottle of my favourite non SLS shampoo on standby 😉

    @sandy: That’s good to know, Sandy – thanks!

  4. Ben says:

    @Karin: Hi Karin, SLS is not derived from fossil fuel ingredients, it’s typically made from palm oil, which is reduced to make an alcohol, then reacted with sulphuric acid to produce the SLS. The carbon chain comes from the palm oil, while the rest of the reactants are inorganic.

    Unfortunately, my feelings about palm oil is that it’s probably worse to be using this than fossil fuels at the moment, but there really aren’t many options at the moment if you want to clean something. You can either have detergents like SLS from palm oil or soaps made from palm oil it seems. I’d like to use less palm oil, or even stop using it, but I’ve found it almost impossible so far to even reduce.

  5. Jane says:

    I’ve seen the shops but because I tend to be allergic to perfume stay well clear of the shops. I have been given a bar though. One of my great achievements is to get rid of liquid soap containers and to return to the bar of soap – with a crown cap pressed into it. This way I don’t have the plastic and the soap doesn’t get soggy on the side of the basin as the crown cap keeps it clear of the water. You can choose your favourite crown caps!

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Jane – great tip about the cap; I steer clear of bars of soap for the soggy reason!

  7. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Now that the growing season has ended, though over-wintering plants remains, highlighting companies like Lush can fill the gaps in Zero Waste ideas. The recently delivered Christmas edition of their regular updates mentioned furoshiki style wrapping for the festive season, and other important times. This material type wrap is ideal for loose purchases of home cosmetics on regular purchasing trips, giving Zero Waste outcomes.

    My purchases of deodorant, shampoo and bath salts bars are excellent value for money, and leaving absolutely no plastic, or spray-can, waste. The company’s aim should be to replace much of the opposition where plastic is standard. One target for them is to produce a soap to compete with Pears, for example, on quality and price. Value is about purchasing price and length of use, ie possibly more expensive but longer lasting.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, great news about LUSH promoting furoshiki. I know you were a fan of their products when you first tried them and it’s great that your loyalty is still there after a few months. The idea of competing on cost is a good one as many people (particularly in our current economic climate) are driven by price.

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