Reducing environmental footprint of Beauty packaging – Part 1: The stakes

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Sustainable development has become a relevant concern of our enterprise, which can’t anymore ignore troubles consisting of climate alternate, sources overexploitation, and growing pollution. The many ongoing tasks inside the packaging cost chain appear, however, insufficient for a real transition in the direction of sturdiness. This article, in two elements, explores why we must pass in addition and what routes will be explored. Our enterprise proves especially steeply priced! The ratio [quantity of product] / [quantity of packaging] is one of the maximum destructive, particularly for luxury brands. Likewise, it is the champion of programmed obsolescence, with a regular glide of novelties cannibalizing the preceding novelties. True, virtuous tasks are ongoing: eco-layout, the discount of sources intake and waste generation, and more general difficulty of the environmental footprint of the products are imperative topics in all stakeholders’ agendas.

Reducing environmental footprint

The element price chain became the first to behave and worked for years to develop herbal, sustainably sourced substances. There’s more to do, but the subject matter has gained enormous momentum. The packaging fee chain changed into slower to get considerably involved, but new projects are actually popping up daily: material suppliers featuring materials with decrease environmental footprints; packaging manufacturers the usage of post-customer recycled fabric (PCR); manufacturers repackaging legacy strains at the same time as lightweight and simplifying their packs; packs designed for smoother give up-of-lifestyles control; and so forth. All those tasks are commendable; however, even consolidated, they’re nevertheless far from having significantly decreased the environmental impact of the whole packaging fee chain, most substantially for Luxury products.

Let’s take the example of the classical lipstick tube: for 3 to four grams of pomade, the % normally weighs 20 to 35 grams; this is 7 to 10 times more percent than a product. At the top of its fantastically brief life, the user dumps a complicated item composed of plastic, metallic, numerous decors and finishes, glue, lubricant, and now and again magnets (containing uncommon-earth metals, restricted and noticeably polluting). And it’d be unrealistic to imagine sorting those substances every one inside its very own recycling stream – which through the manner doesn’t constantly exist.

For perfume bottles, maximum glassmakers are providing glass formulations incorporating a part of PCR glass. This reduces the carbon footprint (CF) of the bottles and contributes to providing final results for the waste that could, in any other case maximum probably become in the landfill. But allow’s take a look at information (in round figures):

The standard CF resides for 1/three within the fabric and 2/3 inside the processing strength in a tumbler bottle. A fraction of PCR reduces the CF of the fabric element – however, it doesn’t alternate the strength requirement. We can, therefore, count on a 6 / 7% development of the percent’s general CF through this method – no longer taking into account decors and add-ons. It is these days nevertheless hard to move over about 20% of PCR glass without jeopardizing the optical traits of the resulting glass and making it irrelevant to fulfill the stringent nice standards demanded with the aid of luxurious manufacturers.

Those of the glassmakers geared up with electric ovens can, on top of that, reduce the strength footprint by using sourcing ‘green’ energy. But inexperienced or black, this still represents loads of energy going into waste after the unmarried use (maximum of the time) of the bottle. Besides, nevertheless, a minority of manufacturers pick out to use those partly recycled glasses.
Without discarding this actual progress, which requires R&D investments and tremendous commercial and logistical efforts, we can see that we’ll have to look someplace else to lessen the CF of glass packaging significantly. Amongst the three drivers allowing to reduce environmental footprint, the now traditional ‘3Rs’ – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – the second is underexploited and possibly underestimated:

We see many Reduce initiatives: alternative materials, bio-sourced, coming from PCR, much less power-intensive; eco-designed packs, simplified and light-weighted; use of renewable strength…
It may also be noted many Recycle announcements: single-fabric packs, simpler to recycle; verbal exchange campaigns encouraging cease-of-life sorting; initiatives from the Distribution or Brands to accumulate used packs; implementation of recycling streams; and so forth. There exist through assessment extraordinarily few good-sized Reuse initiatives. Yet, before thinking about recycling a p.C., wouldn’t it be better to ensure that it’s going for use commonly and for a long time?
This may additionally examine first glance as a paradox because Reuse should constitute an exciting course, mainly for luxury manufacturers.

Indeed, mass-market manufacturers can (and have to) probably stay with lightweight and simplifying their packs, however for top-rated brands, one ought to no longer overlook the desirability aspect inherent to the perception of luxury. And it would be hard to cater to the desirability component and to justify the price top rate by way of reducing the load of the packs to the stern minimal technically viable and using the usage of the lowest viable environmental footprint substances (which, allow’s be honest, occasionally lack the luster of ‘noble’ substances desired by luxurious manufacturers).

Re the use of p.C. In place of casting off, it right away divides its environmental footprint by way of the wide variety or re-uses (as a first approximation). 5 re-uses might create an eighty% discount of the %’s CF – this is thirteen times higher than the 6% saved through the use of PCR for a tumbler bottle. And we have to be capable of move properly past 5 re-uses. To be persisted… the second one, a part of this newsletter, will explore a few routes that are probably promising.


My passion is all things fashion, beauty and travel. The inspiration for this blog comes from my love of fashion, travelling and exploring the world! This is the space I get to share what inspires me with the people who read my blog.