Since the spring of 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide to raise awareness and responsibility for the environment. And while the planet, and the living organisms that inhabit it, are being compromised by all kinds of pollution, plastic waste has steadily emerged as a sobering global crisis. According to the Plastic Soup Foundation, the production of plastic has increased every year by 8 percent and more of the polymeric material was produced over the last 10 years than during the entire 20th century. In the U.S. alone, over 60 million Cosmetic Plastic Bottle Packaging is thrown away every day.
Since launching in 2018, Seed Phytonutrients, L’Oréal's first internally incubated niche brand, has been a huge disrupter in the beauty space, from their organic, locally-sourced ingredients to their recyclable, compostable, and paper-based packaging. For the latter, the company partners with innovative recycling company TerraCycle to ensure every portion of every bottle, including the mixed materials pump dispenser, is able to be repurposed. Based out of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, they collaborate with a number of the family-run businesses, such as Barefoot Botanical, on their hair, face, and body offerings.
Last year, REN Clean Skincare caused a stir with its first-ever 100 percent recycled Plastic PET Bottles, with 20 percent of the plastic sourced directly from the ocean. Made in collaboration with Terracycle, the two companies will continue to challenge the industry status quo together, with REN pledging to go "zero waste" by 2021. A key component to fulfilling this goal will be offering six of their bestselling daily body care products in glass label-free bottles (designed to make them easier to clean and refill), with a single-type plastic pump for future recycling.
Chanel Inc., the maker of the world’s most famous perfume, isn’t about to compromise on luxury to become greener.
The fashion house behind Chanel No. 5 spent two years developing a sustainable cap for perfume bottles with Finland’s Sulapac Oy, tossing out 47 prototypes before it was satisfied. The result: a biodegradable Perfume Cap made of 91% plant-based materials with a sleek black look and satiny feel.
Launched this summer, the cap will be used for all 125 milliliter (4.23 fl oz) bottles of the Les Eaux de Chanel collection of fragrances. Chanel set criteria for the material, including “the unique sound the bottle makes when the cap is put on, the grip, and the depth of the satiny matte finish on the iconic double C engraving,” according to a press release.
While an incremental step in tackling global pollution, the work’s real value lies in demonstrating that alternatives to fossil-based plastics can be produced at scale, Suvi Haimi, chief executive officer of Sulapac, said in an interview. Chanel owns a minority stake in the company.
Chanel has unveiled a new biobased Aluminum Perfume Cap for all the 125 ml bottles in its Les Eaux De Chanel collection, developed in partnership with Sulapac. Chanel first invested in Sulapac—a startup company that makes sustainable packaging based on a biodegradable, microplastic-free trademarked material made from FSC-certified wood chips and natural binders—in 2018. It was Sulapac’s first investment from the cosmetics industry. For two years, Chanel teams worked hand-in-hand with the Finnish startup to create a cap composed of three layers, made out of 91% biobased materials obtained from renewable resources and FSC certified wood chips (by-products of industrial side-streams). In keeping with the rigorous standards of the House of Chanel, every detail was carefully thought out, says the company, including the sensory nature of the material, its resistance to fluctuations in temperature, the unique sound the bottle makes when the Zamac Perfume Cap is put on, the grip, and the depth of the satiny matte finish on the iconic double C engraving.
Finding ways to reduce plastic use and make packaging more recyclable and reusable, all the while maintaining product integrity, quality and safety, is a well-known challenge facing the packaging industry. When it comes to sectors such as food and drink or pharmaceuticals, or elements like Cosmetic Caps and Closures, the challenge becomes more difficult as packaging suddenly has a far higher burden in regards to ensuring safety. And while materials such as polypropylene are largely recyclable, there is no guarantee that they will be used in products that fit into larger recycling streams.
Like many other major plastics applications, plastics use in flexible packaging has come under deep scrutiny in recent years as sustainability concerns rise and spread globally.
Paper Packaging is often lauded as a far more environmentally friendly alternative but how do the two materials really compare? And what is the most sustainable solution?
Historically, papers have been used in flexible packaging for many applications, including confectionery, pet food and dried food. By the early-2000s, however, paper demand as a flexible packaging substrate began to decline due to competition from down-gauging and the rise of plastic alternatives.
Comparing green credentials isn’t as straightforward as some would think, however.
Paper is far more biodegradable than plastic and very easily recycled. But it often ends up in landfill, where its degradation rate slows – while it takes up more space than the same weight of plastic. Additionally, paper-based flexible packaging is often laminated with plastic/aluminium or coated with resin, therefore becoming non-recyclable.