Salon Sustainability: Leading the Action with R+Co
The opportunity to weigh in on vibrant discussions around packaging innovation was a big part of what drove James Angelo, Senior Vice President of R+Co (and admitted packaging, plastics and sustainability "nerd") to join R+Co parent company Luxury Brand Partners in the first place, back in 2010.
While his leadership role today is business development and salon support, not packaging, he has a passion and respect for good design and for R+Co’s overall drive to do better—for the planet and for salons.
Trained classically as an engineer, with hands-on experience in plastics, packaging and creative, Angelo can appreciate the mission, vision and level of accomplishment behind what R+Co is bringing to life both inside as well as all around its beautiful, ground-breaking bottles. Even though he calls giving input or helping translate packaging issues his “side hustle.”
“I’ve always loved our R+Co way—the commitment to excellence, he says. “Taking an aggressive sustainability stance and committing to using recycled material in packaging is expensive and difficult.”
Lots of big salon or consumer companies and brands might want to move to more recycled materials in packaging today, Angelo says, but few can afford the risk or expense.
“R+Co has the stones to do it anyway,” he says. “We committed to being more sustainable throughout our company and product lines, from the top down.”
“Two years ago, we pivoted to using a minimum 55% post-consumer resource (PCR) plastic for bottles in our R+Co line,” Angelo says. “It would have been much less expensive to continue using a standard, commodity plastic material, or more affordable to even go up only to the 25-50% PCR range. And, on top of the hard costs, we knew that we would take a bit of hit visually, too, with the higher PCR bottles.”
“Our TELEVISION shampoo and conditioner, for instance, are our top sellers in our popular hair care category. The original, pre-PCR bottle was a bright arctic white. By changing to 55% PCR, we sacrificed a little of that pop or glow."
But R+Co determined it was worth it—for the greater good of what could be accomplished long-term in keeping more plastic out of landfills and creating greater demand for PCR material in the packaging cycle.
“I read a statistic that 91% of the plastic recycled curbside is still brought to landfills because there are not enough companies willing to use it,” Angelo says. "R+Co is not one of those companies; we are part of the solution."
No demand would mean PCR always stays too expensive for most brands to consider using it packaging. Somebody has to go first and lead.
“The difference between R+Co and the world outside our walls is that we are not tied to the normal rules, Angelo says. As a privately held company, “we can lead the market, operate without a net, and make key decisions a few years ahead of competitors.”
R+Co: THE FACTS
Within the core line, R+Co remains focused on good hair and on doing what’s good for the planet. The commitment is to reduce the ecological footprint with the introduction of post-consumer resource (PCR) packaging.
Look for the R+Eco logo as all R+Co bottles transition to 55% PCR material. PCR packaging is gathered from domestic US sources AND reduces virgin plastic consumption, plus decreases the use of fossil fuels and energy used in package manufacturing.
In addition to shifting to PCR packaging, all R+Co formulas are:
• 100% vegan, gluten + cruelty-free
• Made without sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, or mineral oil
• Leaping Bunny certified