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Beauty Companies Slow to Embrace Sustainable Packaging

Posted: August 31, 2010

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Organic Monitor finds Aveda to be the front-runner in adopting sustainable packaging. It is one of the few beauty brands to give priority to packaging on its sustainability agenda. Aveda is the largest user of PCR plastic in the beauty industry, saving more than one million pounds of virgin plastic each year. It has also recycled 37 million polypropylene caps through its "Recycle Caps with Aveda" campaign. Its products now contain 80% or more recycled materials. Aveda has also reduced carbon emissions by using wind energy to power its Minnesota manufacturing plant.

Eco-packaging design is another method of reducing the packaging footprint. Some beauty brands such as Nude Skincare have developed sleek packaging that is both stylish and environmentally friendly. Reducing packaging in design has enabled the Greek brand Korres to save 11 tons of plastic materials a year.

A few pioneers are taking a holistic approach to sustainable packaging. Apart from Aveda, Method Products has adopted the Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) design approach, which ensures packaging is environmentally responsible and packaging materials are recovered after the product is used.

Although beauty companies are undertaking numerous initiatives to lower the environmental impact of their products, relatively low progress has been made in packaging. The upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, taking place in Paris on October 18–20, will explore the gamut of sustainable packaging options available to beauty companies. The summit will look at recycling, reducing and reusing packaging materials, as well as bioplastics, eco-design and the C2C design approach. An interactive workshop will give a practical guide to companies looking to adopt sustainable packaging solutions. Case studies will be given of companies at the forefront of sustainable packaging initiatives, including Aveda and Burt’s Bees.