What is the next step for plastic packaging?

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

What is the next step for plastic packaging?
As Costa Rica becomes the first country in the world to announce that it is ditching single use plastics, it is irrefutable that the war on plastics is really heating up. So what does this mean for our industry?

Last year, the Central American country, which is known for being one step ahead when it comes to environmental initiatives, announced that the whole country should be free of single use plastics by 2021.

Although the cosmetics and personal care industry uses a lower percentage of single use plastics, in the broader scheme of things it does suggest that more will have to be done to reduce plastics use, and that plastic packaging in all forms will increasingly come under the spotlight in years to come.

Consumers are getting this message loud and clear and the pressure is being mounted on all fast moving consumers goods players to come up with alternatives to plastics.

The cosmetics and personal care industry has always been one of the more reactive to trends and consumers demands, and the Cosmetics Design has been on the case, reporting on what is being done.

The L’Oréal initiative

L’Oréal has a strong record when it comes to sustainability initiatives and has targeted the reduction of non-recyclable packaging and associated waste as being core to its overall sustainability goals.

In March last year, we reported on an initiative that the company undertook in partnership with TerraCyle to reduce packaging waste​.

The initiative also involved social change organisation DoSomething.org and targets younger women in college in an effort to reduce empty plastic cosmetic and personal care packaging going to landfill.

The campaign highlighted how containers market ‘1’ and ‘2’ could be recycled through community curbside pickups with the aim of reducing the number of beauty packaging items bound for landfill by 1 million.

For their contribution to the programme, TerraCyle, which specialises in hard-to-recycle packaging, offered its recycling capabilities, while L’Oreal’s Garnier brand provided the pickups for the recycling.

Bioplastics offer an eco-friendly solution

But because recycling plastics is challenging, it might be that bioplastics will become a useful too to help businesses cope with this challenge in the future.

Highlighting what the EU is doing to promote bioplastics use, another article from last year focused on how recycling goals are being set through incorporating the greater use of bioplas antics​.

Those initiatives include the goal to recycle 75% of packaging waste by 2030 and a ban on land filling of separately collected waste.

The article points out that bioplastics could play a significant part in helping to fulfill these goals and ultimately help to reduce the impact that plastic packaging has on the environment.

Bulldog leading the way

So let us look at an example of what one brand is doing to tackle the problem. UK men’s grooming brand Bulldog has always been noted as an innovator and the company is certainly taking a lead when it comes to environmentally-friendly packaging.

To answer this challenge, the company came up with a sugar cane-based material as the more biodegradable solution for its packaging across its product line.

The brand’s plastic tubes are made from a renewable source that is grown responsibly in Brazil and the design’s eco-friendly credentials helped it to scoop last year’s Pure Beauty Global Award for Best New Design and Packaging.

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