Organic Monitor research finds most developments are occurring in ecodesign, with many brands reducing packaging materials by changing design structures. For example, the Brazilian company Natura Brasil is a frontrunner in sustainable design. Its recent launch of its mass market SOU brand epitomizes the packaging trend. SOU skin care products are housed in flexible packaging that have 70% less plastic than rigid plastic containers of the same volume.
Although some cosmetic brands are experimenting with sustainable materials like bamboo and wood, plastic packaging still prevails.
Plant-based plastics, once hailed because of their biodegradable nature, have yet to make headway in cosmetic applications. Some companies like Procter & Gamble are using hybrid polymers to overcome the limitations of bioplastics. Its Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion packaging is mainly made from biopolymers sourced from sugar cane. Unilever is one of the few companies as well considering a packaging overhaul to address its environmental footprint. The Anglo-Dutch multinational introduced a new “compressed” can for a number of its deodorant brands earlier this year. The deodorant cans are about a third smaller, reducing packaging material costs as well as transportation costs.
Sustainable packaging is a focal theme of the upcoming editions of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit this month and next.