Co-founder of ethical.market, Raquel is on a mission to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Guest Blog Post by Cruelty Free Beauty Brand Upcircle




This week we have asked UpCircle to guest blog about their brand. If you don't know who they are, you may be interested to know that this cruelty free beauty brand uses coffee grounds and brewed chai tea spices that often end up going to landfill to create their wonderful skincare products, in other words, they transform ingredients that would have gone to waste.

Today Anna and Will from UpCircle talk about their quest to reduce plastic waste as part of their eco brand development  >>>>



UpCircle Vs. Plastic: We Choose Change

For those of you who aren’t aware, “UpCircle” started life as “Optiat”. However, just before Christmas we took the decision to undergo a fairly dramatic rebrand – something that we had been working tirelessly on behind the scenes for more than half a year. We had outgrown the initial vision of Optiat and as part of our continuous brand development process, we evolved…

As our product ranges expand we took the opportunity to unify the brand, unveiling a fresh new look and name. We took our learnings from Optiat and built on them to create UpCircle. One of our main focuses was to reduce our use of plastic – in both our product packaging and office materials.

Since the very start our packaging has been 100% recyclable, but now as UpCircle, we’ve reduced our plastic packaging by 99%. Pretty chuffed with that.



We believe that the biggest challenge in the natural and organic industry in 2019 does not concern itself with the products being produced, but with the packaging products are being housed in. The zero-waste movement is picking up momentum and new TV programs like “Drowning In Plastic” are reminding us all of the horrors which first gripped us in “Blue Planet 2”. Finding new and innovative ways to protect and preserve products in packaging which has no detrimental environmental impact will be key in the coming year. It’s time to turn the plastic tap off!

Our signature coffee scrub range used to be housed in plastic tubes, they are now in 100% aluminium. The only thing that remains in plastic is the cap, which is fairly unavoidable at this point. As soon as viable alternatives are available, we will be straight on it - but we are proud of the 99% reduction that we have been able to achieve so far. Every little helps, as they say! The tube caps are also fully recyclable, so there’s no need for them to be ending up in landfill sites!

Not only did we banish our plastic tubes, we’ve also taken massive leaps forwards with our office materials. We send out orders from our website daily, as well as wholesale orders to our stockists. What are they all sealed with? Paper tape made from recycled fibres! 100% biodegradable. And what about our marketing materials? Well, we’ve made all our fliers, booklets, business cards and leaflets from paper made from recycled coffee cups – quite a nice tie in with our brand story, we thought! 



While the UK has banned the sale of microbeads in rinse-off products, this is a very small step towards doing enough to turn the tide on plastic. Yes, we’ve begun to address the microplastics inside our cosmetics, but what about the plastic that houses them? Last year we saw an increasing amount of our customers requesting non-plastic containers and refillable products. It is now not enough that a product is natural, organic, vegan and cruelty-free, the packaging must also be planet-friendly.

We’ve made a name for ourselves as being the brand creating circular skincare solutions using by products and ingredients which would otherwise be discarded. We are bringing the circular economy to the beauty industry! And that’s where our new brand name came from. We felt UpCircle succinctly summed up our circular skincare mission. A play on upcycle, up as in uplifting, and upcircle as a circular economy. Genius? We think so.

Our rebrand has really unified our look and feel, the products now all belong in a clear family – which means we can start to grow that family. We love developing new products, so we’re keen to see what other circular skincare creations we can come up with!


Coffee was a great starting point for our brand, but we’ve got a lot more than just coffee in our sights! We’ve since released a range of soaps made from residual chai spices used to brew chai tea, the soaps came out just before Christmas and have done extremely well so far! We’re also working with hemp seed husks which are a by-product of hemp manufacture – so there’s lots going on!

We promise that our focus will remain on not only our eco-friendly packaging, but also our eco-friendly formulations. So, a huge thank you from Team UpCircle for all of your love and support on our journey so far. Because of superstars like you, we’ve been able to save (literally) TONNES of good stuff from landfill, helping to leave the world better than we found it.


To read more about UpCircle and shop their range of cruelty free beauty products 

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