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Innovation & new products

In search of sustainability, La Roche-Posay launches first cardboard-based tubes

By launching the first cosmetic tubes incorporating a part of cardboard, the L’Oréal group brand is moving forward towards its goal of drastically reducing its environmental impact. Developed in partnership with Albéa, this world first allows a dramatic decrease of the plastic content in the packaging, as well as a significant reduction of the carbon footprint. The brand has also checked that the product formula is safe for marine ecosystems, while maximizing its efficiency, especially against UVA rays.

Available from May in France, Anthelios’ new moisturizing sunscreen body lotion (Anthelios is La Roche-Posay range dedicated to protect the skin against the harmful effects of sunrays), aims to protecting both the skin and the environment, with an eco-designed packaging and an innovative formulation.

Cardboard-based tube

By incorporating cardboard, this new tube reduces by 45% the quantity of plastic required for its manufacture compared to a conventional tube. Fruit of the international partnership announced last October between L’Oréal and Albéa, the global leading supplier of packaging solutions for beauty products, this new generation of tubes was designed as an alternative to the various solutions currently used for cosmetic products.

We have adapted our manufacturing process to incorporate this new technology, replacing part of the plastic in the tube with cardboard. This is a first," commented Barbara de Saint-Aubin, Managing Director at Albéa Tubes Europe.

By incorporating cardboard, this new tube reduces by 45% the quantity of...

By incorporating cardboard, this new tube reduces by 45% the quantity of plastic required for its manufacture compared to a conventional tube.

While not recyclable (actually most tubes aren’t), these new packs allow significant environmental gains. In order to assess the impact of the new Anthelios 200 ml tubes, La Roche-Posay and Albéa have conducted an initial life cycle analysis. The results show that the tubes’ carbon footprint is "the lowest in their category".

"The launch of these very first Anthelios tubes to incorporate cardboard represents an important step in our quest to reduce the environmental footprint of packaging. We intend to extend this experimental technology to other iconic products of the brand and to offer it in as many countries as possible," said Laetitia Toupet, International General Manager of La Roche-Posay.

Other eco-responsible cosmetic tube solutions already exist, including mono-material tubes, sometimes recyclable, tubes made from post-consumer recycled plastics (PCR) or from bioplastics. But this new solution allows La Roche-Posay to progress rapidly towards their goal to significantly reducing the use of virgin plastics in their products by replacing them with recycled materials. In 2020, La Roche-Posay will pass the 25% mark of recycled plastic (10 times more than in 2018). The brand’s ambition is to increase this proportion to 70% by 2025, the equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of virgin plastic saved in five years.

Since 2012, the brand has also focused on reducing the weight of its tubes to reduce the use of plastic. In 2020, all large format bottles will have their weight reduced by 10%.

Protecting the skin and the marine environment

In addition to these packaging innovations, La Roche-Posay is also committed to ensuring the safety of their formulas for aquatic environments. Anthelios formulas have been tested in fresh and salt water on a representative sample of marine organisms. The laboratory therefore called on experts from the Monaco Scientific Center (CSM) to define new evaluation standards, notably on the impact of sunscreen products on corals.

These environmental concerns do not hamper the brand’s efforts to protect the skin. Indeed, the new Anthelios moisturizer is based on the new patented Netlock technology, developed by L’Oréal’s research, thus enhancing protection against UVA rays thanks to an ultra-resistant water, perspiration and sand proof formula.

With this new product, La Roche-Posay is therefore continuing their journey towards the drastic reduction of their environmental footprint. The brand, which achieved carbon neutrality for its French factory in 2018, already announced that other initiatives based on the use of paper or cardboard are currently being assessed.

Vincent Gallon

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