According to Zero Waste, 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. Moreover, a study by National Geographic shows that plastic packaging is used 120 times more in cosmetics packaging than it was in 1960. The beauty industry is a major contributor, as most of its bottles and containers are designed to be single-use.

As the beauty industry faces growing consumer pressure to reduce its packaging impacts and to find options that reduce, reuse and recycle, sustainability is driving changes throughout the entire packaging process and is pushing the brands design their packaging with the circular economy in mind.

Ending Plastic Waste

sustainable beauty packaging


Companies are exploring new alternatives to plastic as well as other recyclable, compostable materials. L’Oréal and Albéa have developed an innovative carton-based cosmetic tube, where plastic has been replaced with a bio-based, paper-like material. The Sulapac jar by Quadpack Group made of microplastic-free material is 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Wildsmith Skin proposes their giftset in mycelium, a mushroom-based sustainable packaging.

Refillable Product Packaging Solutions

beauty packaging - refillable solutions

Brands are embracing refills and redesigning their product to make it a luxurious proposition. Myro has built a brand that specializes in a refillable product with a first-of-its-kind refillable deodorant. Combining luxury with sustainability, brands like Hermès and By Kilian are offering refillable products. Loop, founded by TerraCycle has partnered with brands to offer a refillable shopping experience by enabling packaging to be returned to brands and re-used.

Package-Free Lifestyle

eco-friendly beauty packaging

The zero-waste food shopping trend has found its way into beauty. UK beauty retailer Lush is leading the way with its completely package free store called Lush Naked. Australian-based Flora & Fauna has created an interactive marketplace for zero-waste goods and services, the store includes the first bulk eco-refill station in the country. Brands, like Ethique selling bars of hair products and deodorants, offer package-free products in a bid to attract environmentally-conscious consumers.

From Carbon-Neutral to Climate Positive Beauty

carbon-neutral beauty packaging

The beauty industry has pushed toward sustainability and carbon neutrality actions but the future stage will see bolder actions like climate-positive beauty. Lush Cosmetics has received recognition as the first carbon-positive product for its Cork Pot that absorbs more than 33 times its weight in carbon dioxide. British period brand Dame has become the world’s first climate-positive period brand, meaning that they remove more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than they emit.

3 Responses

  1. APC Packaging launched an Airless Refillable System this year. The patent-pending refillable system utilizes PP, but can also be created with up to 75% PCR by package weight. The internal cartridge can be recycled and a new cartridge can be used with the same actuator and outer bottle. Both of these features reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the ARS.

    Incorporating a disposable and replaceable inner cartridge is APC Packaging’s newest innovation towards sustainable packaging. “Innovation is defined by APC Packaging as a solution that must meet several criteria for us to consider it an innovation,” according to Robert Bulla, Director of Engineering & Innovation. “An innovation must be replicable, economical and satisfy a particular need in the market. Most airless refillable packages on the market are simply a screw-off pump branded as refillable. The material selection has not changed, and the materials utilized are not easily recyclable. Another issue that we are seeing is that the packaging is not intuitive for user-friendly use and reuse,” states Bulla.

    The Airless Refillable System designed by APC Packaging’s engineering department utilizes a simple push of a button to release the inner assembly which allows the customer to easily replace only the inner bottle and then easily slide and snap back into position. The Airless Refillable System will be available in 30ml and 50ml versions. In addition, APC Packaging will be releasing a patent-pending refillable jar system in 15ml, 30ml, and 50ml sizes.

    1. Thank you, Erin! We are looking forward to seeing your latest sustainable beauty packaging innovations at the show in February!

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