Wood chippings: The future of luxury and sustainable beauty?

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sulapac's wood-based jars are designed to 'combine circularity with unlimited design possibilities' (Photo: Sulapac)
Sulapac's wood-based jars are designed to 'combine circularity with unlimited design possibilities' (Photo: Sulapac)

Related tags: Sustainability, sustainable beauty, Packaging, biodegradable, microplastics

Finnish startup Sulapac is on a mission to spotlight its wood-based, biodegradable, microplastic-free cosmetic jars, and a partnership with Quadpack aims to propel this globally.

Late last year, international packaging firm Quadpack became the ‘preferred global cosmetics packaging partner’ of Finnish startup Sulapac – a firm specialised in 100% bio-based, fully biodegradable and microplastic-free materials made using wood chippings and plant-based polymers.  And earlier this year at PCD Paris, Quadpack showcased the Sulapac Nordic Collection of jars made using this material – suitable for a range of cosmetic products, including lip balms, powdered make-up and waxes and set for global launch in 15ml, 30ml and 50ml variants this month.

Sustainable jars for oil-based beauty formulas

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe at the show, Quadpack’s product marketing lead Jennifer Barachet said the collection was an important innovation for the cosmetics category, and more formats would follow.

“For the moment we have jars, but we are looking to develop more and more shapes, and more types of products as well,” ​Barachet said.

“…You have to test for compatibility, and for the moment it’s more for oil-based formulas. So, for make-up, it’s great – powers, waxes, men’s ranges, maybe a dry shampoo, lip balms. And we have another jar with another barrier Sulapac material inside that’s currently being tested to have more water-and-oil formulas.”

Asked what the biggest challenge would be for industry wanting to transition to these sustainable jars, Barachet said stability and shelf-life. Because the material was “very natural”, ​she said the jars had to be kept at certain temperatures to ensure the final product remained unaltered. The shelf-life of the product contained in the jar was also shorter, which had to be considered, she said.

Innovative sustainable materials to tackle plastic waste

Heidi Koljonen, sales director at Sulapac, told attendees during the PCD Paris conference sessions that whilst dedicating efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic packaging was important, efforts had to stretch further.

“We need new solutions; new technological innovations to help tackle this plastic waste problem,” ​Koljonen said.

Sulapac’s material – designed to combine circularity with unlimited design possibilities – provided an important alternative to plastic packaging, she said.

“It’s made of wood- and plant-based binders and it biodegrades fast and fully. It’s also safe and circular by design. All the raw materials we use are safe; they don’t cause any harm for people or the food system.”

The rate at which the material biodegraded was particularly important, Koljonen said, along with the fact no microplastics were released in the process. The fact the material could also be integrated into existing machinery like extrusion and molding lines was also crucial, she said.

“We believe that in order to make changes and introduce new innovations, it’s important that it is also easy. …We want the Sulapac brand to become known and well-established and become a guarantee of sustainability and high quality.”

When sustainability and luxury collide in beauty

Koljonen said the high quality and premium look of its material was also important.

“When we created the pieces for the Nordic Collection, we wanted to make sure it looked luxurious and looked and felt unique. We believe solutions need to be sustainable, but luxurious and sustainable,” ​she said.

During the same PCD Paris conference, Chanel’s packaging innovation director Pascale Marciniak suggested the combination of luxury and sustainability was absolutely the future​ and had to be led by prestige brands in the beauty category.

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