Ulta Beauty

At a Glance


Retail and Apparel

Project Type

Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy




Bolingbrook, IL


Irene Chang developed waste mitigation strategies and identified cost-saving opportunities to assist with Ulta Beauty’s waste reduction efforts.


As the largest beauty retailer in the United States, Ulta Beauty is committed to making a positive impact and taking concrete steps towards reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills from its operations.

In order to divert more waste from landfills, Ulta Beauty enlisted Irene Chang to identify short and long-term solutions to reduce waste in operations, such as store, distribution center, and salon waste.


Irene developed waste management strategies using a three-part process:

  • Conducting interviews with internal and external stakeholders to identify current processes for waste disposal and potential challenges. After understanding Ulta Beauty’s unique requirements for a feasible waste reduction program, Irene sought out third-party vendors to improve circularity and recyclability across the business.
  • Execute an in-store waste audit to identify prevalent types and quantities in operations. Irene was able to narrow the focus to three types of waste most prevalent within the supply chain.
  • Identify cost-saving opportunities by engaging cross-functionally and receiving buy-in from different divisions. Irene’s solutions for waste diversion ranged from immediate implementation to long-term engagement with brand and merchandising partners.

Potential Impact

An initial waste audit allows Ulta Beauty to better understand the types and quantities of waste that exist within operations. The Ulta Beauty team can use the fellow’s research to implement cost-saving opportunities while reducing waste sent to landfill.

Ultimately, Irene’s work will create and support a pathway for waste management to be a strategic priority as Ulta Beauty continues to expand environmental and sustainability efforts at the core of their business.

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