23rd November, 2022
At Alectro, we’re constantly on the lookout for sustainable alternatives to everyday items. This is an opportunity to share the brands that we love and that are making the world a greener place.
UpCircle is an upcycled skincare brand that reuses 20 upcycled ingredients to make its high-performing products and ensure that it is the most effective for its customers.
Upcycling means giving certain ingredients which would have been otherwise thrown away a new lease of life. The company is creating skincare that is ultimately better socially and environmentally.
Anna Brightman, Co-Founder of UpCircle, shared some amazing insights into how the company is transforming the skincare industry.
Why does UpCircle exist?
The world has a finite amount of natural resources which are depleting at a scary rate. Combining overconsumption with a soaring cost-of-living and food waste crisis, it is clear we’re not in a position to throw away any more ingredients. UpCircle plan to explore how they can intercept these by-products before they’re thrown out and bring them back to life as skincare.
By utilising by-product ingredients, the process that UpCircle use not only decreases food waste but also prevents the release of greenhouse gases through decomposition.
“Every ingredient we upcycle prevents the release of GHGs. For example, the 450 tonnes of coffee that we've upcycled so far into our scrubs and serum would've otherwise released an equivalent 54 tonnes of CO2.” (The equivalent of driving over 250,000 km in a typical car!)
UpCircle repurposes more than 15 by-product ingredients from varied industries, including coffee, argan, tea, juice, date, olive and wood industries. Many of its upcycled ingredients are harvested seasonally and transported only via low-carbon methods to its manufacturers in the UK where all its products are handmade, overall resulting in a low-energy method of production.
Many products that would otherwise be discarded are used by UpCircle and purchased directly from farming sources. By doing this, UpCircle strongly promotes both social and economic stability to help sustain communities and the future of the planet.
“One big plus point is that by utilising by-products we also give farmers globally a new stream of income.
For example, the argan shell powder that we upcycle into our moisturiser is sourced from women's cooperatives in Morocco, the growers previously discarded the shells – we now buy them, creating a brand new revenue stream.”
What key things does UpCircle do best?
UpCircle is proving that sustainability and performance are not mutually exclusive. The company’s strong focus on being sustainable will not compromise the performance of its products. The company is also plastic-negative through their 99% plastic-free packaging and with the 1% residue they offer plastic-free refill options.
UpCircle has worked towards several certifications to show integrity in the products. The Soil Association and COSMOS accredit UpCircle as organic and its ingredients are grown responsibly while promoting soil fertility. The Leaping Bunny accreditation shows consumers that the products are cruelty-free.
While sustainable products can sometimes cost more, UpCircle is working hard to make sure that doesn’t apply to their products. The company is making sure that its customers are getting the best products at the best price. More recently, the company opened warehouses in Ireland and the U.S. to keep prices low by decreasing transportation costs.
What’s next for UpCircle and what new initiatives should we get excited about?
UpCircle is now officially B-Corp certified and Vegan Society certified!
The company is always looking to develop new products and is now targeting the flower industry by releasing four new products in the coming weeks that are infused with rose petals.
What are the challenges of starting a sustainability journey for a business such as UpCircle?
Skincare is a crowded industry with high competition between brands making it difficult to initiate any journey, especially a sustainability journey. Being a disruptor brand means that the path you forge will always be bumpy.
“That’s why our success will be measured by not only the acquisition of new customers but by the percentage of those new customers who have switched from a non-sustainable competitor. Customers want to know who brands are and what makes them unique.”
Thanks so much to UpCircle for taking the time to talk to us about their sustainability journey and future.
Let us know who you'd like to see us cover next in our Brands we Love series by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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