The very latest in sustainable cosmetics packaging

The very latest in sustainable cosmetics packaging
Sustainability has become almost synonymous with cosmetics packaging, which is underlined by recent news concerning Unilever’s deodorant innovation, beauty packaging designed from wood and a new petroleum-free plastic material.

Earlier this year Unilever’s decided to roll out compressed versions of its Sure, Vaseline and Dove deodorants, a decision that not only served to lower the company’s carbon footprint, but one that also one that could set the standard for more size reduction initiatives in other consumer goods categories, according to consumer research.

The consumer goods giant said the new-look cans use on average 25 per cent less aluminium and, due to the smaller size, more can be transported at once, resulting in a 35 per cent reduction in the number of lorries on the road.Unilever acted upon its Sustainable Living Plan by introducing a new compressed aerosol​, which requires less propellant to deliver each spray, allowing the can to be reduced in size; resulting in a carbon footprint reduction of 25 per cent on average per can.

Packaging consultancy ThePackHub researched Unilever’s move using its smart phone-based CSI insight platform to ask new users of the compressed size what they thought of the reduction and why they thought the change had been made.

According to founder Paul Jenkins, the results were largely encouraging.“The launch would appear to have been a smart move with the majority of consumers positively embracing the size reduction,” ​he says.

Wood is the word in sustainablity

Quadpack company Technotraf believes it is taking the right steps towards more sustainable packaging, having showcased its wood components for beauty packaging at Luxe Pack New York​ earlier this year.

According to the packaging firm, in the beauty sector wood is trending among luxury brands, as adding a wooden cap or sleeve to the packaging adds prestige to high-end perfumery and cosmetics brands.

Wood is a versatile, long-wearing material with favourable production costs.

By combining it with other eco-friendly materials such as cardboard and glass, the Quadpack firm says it is helping to propel the beauty industry to greater levels of sustainability.

Novel polymer to replace petroleum-based plastics

Finally, scientists at the Polytechnic University of Catalonidia revealed earlier this month that they have discovered a microorganism in South America that produces poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), which will come as good news to the cosmetics packaging industry.

The biodegradable compound ‘Bacillus megaterium uyuni S29’ was discovered in Bolivia, the largest continuous salt desert in the world where the researchers from UPC and the Graz University of Technology in Austria say the microorganism is the largest producer of polymer of the genus.

The team has managed to reduce PHB's high molecular weight for the first time, using lipase enzymes, which break up fats, as well as using the biopolymer to form nano- and microspheres loaded with antibiotic to control their spread throughout the organism.

And what makes this biopolymer's thermal properties different from conventional PHBs, is that which makes it easier to process, independently of its application.

The scientists have successfully made the bacillus produce significant quantities of the compound in the laboratory in cultivation conditions similar to those used in industry, although industry take up of the material may initially be hampered by the costs of producing such biopolymers.

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