Cosmetics regulations and plastics
Product and packaging safety / compatibility, and batch number make it really difficult for cosmetics to be sold in bulk. If sold in bulk, brands need to insure that consumers won’t use packaging from which molecules might migrate into the formula and render it unsafe. So packaging solutions need to be safe.
So far, the safest option for brands is to continue to provide individual packaging for beauty products.
Plastic pack is still one of the best options in the industry thanks to its lightweight, capabilities or functionalities, portability and ease of use.
Plastic under fire
However, plastic is very controversial because of its negative impact on the environment. Several sustainable options are now available to the industry. Some more advanced than others, some more costly than others or that will take longer to implement. AND It’s really difficult to get your head around the right solution!
Which solution for which impact?
PLA (polyatic acid) is a polymer transformed from vegetal sourced (sugar cane or corn most commonly) so it is considered to be a good “cradle-to-cradle” solution since it’s promoted as biodegradable. But biodegradability is questionable. We’ll discuss this HERE.
Since PET (PET - Polyethylene) is currently well recycled, your can have easy access to rPET (recycled PET) in the market. However plastics for cosmetics products need to be food grade. Considering that PET is coming from different sources for recycling, the food grade rPET is limited and more expensive.
Today a lot of options are available for refillable pack. Bottle with separable inner parts, Jar with changeable part, etc. This could allow for unlimited design and options for brands, but you still need to transport them the different parts, and pack them in different items. So the impact needs to be finely considered.
Towards a glassification of the beauty market?
One may use glass to allow easier compatibility with the formula and easier brand development. However the positive environmental impact from the plastic-free may be outweighed by transportation carbon footprint due to higher weight of the product.
Sourcing and carbon footprint
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. What about the cost to the soil and carbon footprint of extracting natural or mineral materials? and the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process?
All these solutions and ideas will be discussed at our workshop in London on the 21st of February 2020, to help you make up your mind about sustainable solutions in packaging.
Workshop: How to navigate the sustainable packaging alternatives in beauty sector
London - February 21st
Detailed program and registration here.