London Packaging Week: Premium aesthetics and environmental responsibility boost beauty brands
23 Sep 2022 --- The balance between premium shelf appeal and increased environmental sustainability was a key theme at London Packaging Week. We spoke to leading packaging suppliers for the cosmetics and personal care industries during the event to understand how they are creating solutions that strike this balance.
Luxury appeal in the beauty space is deep-rooted, but consumers are increasingly concerned by the environmental impact of products. The UK government has introduced new legislation to support these consumer sentiments and tackle plastic pollution.
The UK Plastic Packaging Tax, introduced in April this year, places a £200 (US$222) per metric ton levy on producers or importers that fail to comply with the minimum requirement of 30% recycled plastic in new plastic packaging.
Meanwhile, the government plans to introduce an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, which will see the full cost of collecting household waste shift from the taxpayer to producers to incentivize improved circularity in the industry. Businesses using hard-to-recycle packaging are expected to face higher costs. EPR reporting will begin in late 2023.
Glass with “sustainable prestige”
At London Packaging Week, Berlin Packaging’s Premi Industries showcased its makeup in glass collection, developed through its “sustainable prestige” approach. Andrea Ucchino, the company’s design and marketing manager, says combining recyclable glass with applicators for cosmetics can deliver environmental benefits and decorative prestige.
“With glass you have infinite possibilities for decoration, like varnishing, lacquering, solid, matte, semi-transparent and metalization. Also, an interesting technology called 3D injector allows us to make 360 degrees raised decorations so the packaging appears to be 3D printed,” he tells PackagingInsights.
The collection’s unique screw neck has been designed for combination with different closure types, including the recyclable RE VIP cap made of monomaterial PP. The RE VIP cap can also include a small percentage of post-consumer recycled (PCR) material.
Berlin Packaging also exhibited its Airglass Jar, a new, refillable glass container for masstige and prestige skincare products that can be refilled using a PP bottle. The jar’s components can be disassembled easily and separated by material to enhance recyclability. Moreover, the airless technology protects the formula from contamination and reduces product waste.
“All the component materials are highly recyclable and we guarantee that you can refill the product up to 20 times,” says Ucchino.
Circular economy plastic solutions
Meanwhile, Berry Global presented its Bmore collection of circular plastic solutions for personal care customers. The collection focuses on four key areas: recyclability, recycled content, reusability and refills and reduced weight.
Despite widespread issues with PCR availability, the company is able to meet the UK tax’s recycled content requirements across much of its product range through reliable supply partnerships and in-house recycling, explains Joe Horton, product line director at Berry Global.
“From many of our UK sites, we’ve been running with 30% or more recycled content in our bottles for up to 20 years. Our full range of standard bottles come with recycled content as standard for customers that wish to include it,” he tells PackagingInsights.
“The huge expertise in development across the Berry Global Group allows us to look at more applications for recycled material in a range of different products, such as pumps, jars and other dispensing solutions.”
“Our excellence in supply chain management means we have great relationships with a huge number of PCR suppliers. The development teams at our sites are well-equipped to ensure that these different materials can be run and, most importantly, we are focused on driving in-house solutions.”
Berry Circular Polymers produces PCR for use across the company’s PE solutions, while its new CleanStream facility in the UK will soon supply recycled PP for packaging.
“We don’t see e-commerce delivery and sustainability as opposing requirements but two that can go hand-in-hand. Many of our products are being lightweighted to make them more environmentally friendly but also easier and cheaper for the customer to post through courier channels,” adds Horton.
“We offer a wide range of printing technologies and, working with subcontractors, shrink sleeving and labeling for bottles, closures and flexible tubes, to ensure we can meet all design requirements.”
To infinity and beyond
Over at the Ball booth, the metal packaging leader highlighted its impact-extruded Infinity aluminum bottle, which can be customized for numerous beauty, personal care, food and beverage products. Unlike other substrates in these categories, such as plastic shampoo bottles or jars for cosmetics, the bottle is infinitely recyclable without loss of quality.
“We recently conducted a survey to understand what today’s consumers want when they buy packaged products. Unsurprisingly, we found consumers want their products to be environmentally sustainable. But this means not just recyclable in theory, but actually recyclable at the end of life, and also reusable. Our Infinity bottle ticks all these boxes,” Predrag Ozmo, head of sustainability at Ball, tells PackagingInsights.
“Recycled content is a big thing on the market. We do not provide a static percentage of recycled content – it can be 25%, 50% or more depending on what customers require. However, we believe the most sustainable option when designing a package is using 50% recycled content and 50% low-carbon primary aluminum.”
“People often ask why 50%. We can go higher in practice, but there isn’t enough recycled aluminum on the market today to satisfy global demand. The latest estimates say that number is around 35% but around 50% by 2050. Aluminum is a high-quality material being used in long-lasting applications like airplanes, window frames and building constructions, and you obviously can’t recycle your airplane every two weeks, so we have to make up for that unrecycled material with virgin sources.”
“We combine the 50-50 split with our special proprietary alloy, which enables advanced lightweighting while preserving infinite material properties and mechanical properties.”
Infinity bottles can be branded without the use of sleeves or labels. Even the most creative and complex designs can be printed on aluminum using the full circumference of the bottle. Ball’s high-definition printing and graphic design technologies, such as Eyeris HD printing, UV light reactive ink, Matte & Gloss or Tactile printing, empower brands to create custom packaging for differentiation on busy retailer shelves.
By Joshua Poole
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