Sustainability has become a driving force for brands to keep up with consumer values this year, and many have pushed themselves to make massive strides in a short amount of time.

On Friday, mass hair care brand Eva NYC launched a partnership with TerraCycle, with a website relaunch Thursday designed to promote the brand’s ongoing sustainability initiatives. Those plans include moving to 100% recyclable packaging and green energy in the brand’s two New Jersey warehouses by 2021, then switching to a mix of post-consumer recycled plastic and non-plastics in 2022, and achieving B-Corp certification by 2024, among other goals. Overall, Eva NYC has invested $2.9 million in sustainability to date, starting in 2018, with another $2 million planned in the next two years as part of its goal to receive B-Corp certification.

“We want people to know that we are credible in this space and that it’s not something we are doing as a greenwashing movement,” said Jane Moran, Eva NYC brand vp. “Our customers, who are both young and older millennials, are looking for the same traits in beauty products: [they need to be] fun, affordable and effective. But, now there’s a lifestyle change where people want clean and sustainable beauty, as well.”

The 8-year-old brand sells through retailers including Target, Ulta and Sally Beauty. It experienced  22% year-over-year total sales growth in 2020, according to Moran. She declined to state overall revenue, but a 2017 WWD article speculated the brand would earn between $45 million and $60 million that year. Prices for its hair care products range from $9 to $15.

Gina Herrera, TerraCycle senior director of brand partnerships, said Eva NYC is covering all of the costs for recycling, which is traditionally how its partnerships operate. Through a link on Eva NYC’s website, customers request postage from TerraCycle in order to send their products to the recycling company, which Eva NYC covers, along with the costs associated with breaking down the plastic into a reusable material. Both Eva NYC and Terracycle declined to comment on exact investment costs, citing they can fluctuate month to month based on return volume. Eva NYC does expect its investment to increase every year. Moran said Eva NYC is still figuring out how it wants to use the post-consumer recycled materials, based on volume. Some solutions include making it into reusable bags for products or park benches.

Herrera said there are a few main reasons brands partner with TerraCycle. The primary motivating factor is reducing waste, followed by backing more meaningful marketing and customer engagement. TerraCycle has become a de facto first step for brands looking to become sustainable. In 2020, its notable new beauty partners included Boscia, C’est Moi and Living Proof.

“It allows brands to lean into authenticity,” she said. “Brands can use TerraCycle as a tool of engagement with consumers to discuss their sustainability platform or stance, or in a social media space to engage customers through a collection contest or in an [e-commerce] loyalty program.”

The new website that launches Thursday features a landing page about the TerraCycle partnership and the “four easy steps” for how to recycle products. It includes a link out to TerraCycle.com. Eva NYC has also emailed customers over the last three months to ask them to save their empty containers in preparation for the TerraCycle partnership. As Eva NYC presses forward with its 2021 plans, it is looking to add TerraCycle recycling information to all packaging starting with QR codes, Moran said.

“We need to be as clear as possible and as concise as possible by using language that the consumer really understands,” said Moran.

The next step for Eva NYC is adding solar-powered energy and storage systems to its Pennsauken, New Jersey warehouse. It will use $1.2 million in government incentives to build and is anticipated to save the brand $50,000 on its electricity bill in the first year, according to Moran. The gross cost of the solar panels is $683,340 and the gross cost of the solar energy battery is $248,750.