This new-generation cosmetic bottle is the first one designed in plastic entirely recycled thanks to Carbios’ enzymatic technology, which is suitable for all types of PET - clear, coloured, opaque and multilayer - and makes these plastics infinitely recyclable.

A more efficient process

Until now, existing mechanical recycling processes have not been able to recover all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste, which is one of the most common plastics in consumer goods.

Carbios explains that "only clear plastic [could] be recycled in closed loops, with a loss of quality in each cycle, making it difficult to obtain new products from 100% recycled PET.” A problem the French company’s enzymatic technology is now able to solve. “Our innovation allows infinite recycling of all types of PET waste as well as the production of 100% recycled and 100% recyclable PET products, without loss of quality."

Furthermore, this can be achieved at high speed: breaking down 97% of plastic in just 16 hours, that is to say10,000 times more efficient than any biological plastic recycling trial to date.

Industrial production in 2025

After four years of close collaboration with L’Oréal to develop this technology — as well as with Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe - capacities of the new recycling process are being scaled up. Biotherm could be the first brand of the French group to launch a product in this bottle, with the production launch currently scheduled for 2025.

"We have been working with Carbios since 2017 to develop this first bottle made from PET derived from enzymatic recycling technology, an alternative to mechanical recycling. We are pleased to announce today the feasibility of these bottles in a pilot phase and are delighted to be in a position to create the packaging of the future with our partners. This is a promising innovation for the years to come that demonstrates our commitment to bring to market more environmentally friendly packaging and which is part of a circularity initiative begun more than 15 years ago," said Jacques Playe, L’Oréal’s Global Head of Packaging and Product Development.

Note that this technology has been used to create other sample bottles for everyday products. Perrier, Pepsi Max and Orangina may also soon offer new packaging for some of their iconic products.

This innovation should help L’Oréal achieve its objectives set out in its "L’Oréal for the Future" sustainability program. These include achieving 100% refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025, and 100% recycled or biobased plastic packaging by 2030.

To achieve these objectives, L’Oréal is working with a number of strategic partners, giving it access to the best technologies. As well as Carbios, L’Oréal is collaborating with Albéa, the global leader in beauty packaging, with whom the Group developed the first cosmetic tube including FSC-certified carton in 2019, Purecycle, for the production of solvolysis-recycled polypropylene (PP), and LanzaTech and Total, with whom, in October 2020, L’Oréal announced a world first: the production of a polyethylene (PE) cosmetic bottle made from recycled industrial carbon emissions.