Eco-responsible packaging in cosmetics

emballage cosmétique Eco-responsible packaging

What is eco-responsible packaging?

Eco-responsible packaging is packaging that has benefited from an eco-design approach. Indeed, ecodesign is defined as “the integration of environmental characteristics into product design with a view to improving the environmental performance of the product throughout its life cycle”. Packaging is said to be eco-responsible when its impact on the environment is limited by taking into account its entire life cycle.

According to CITEO, it is necessary to implement 4 actions to develop eco-responsible packaging: reduce packaging, reuse, improve recyclability and work on the origin of the material.

What are the different solutions for obtaining eco-responsible packaging?

Today there are several ways to define an eco-responsible pack. Pascale Brousse, founder of the Trensourcing agency and Gérald Martines, founder of In•Signes, present in their study “Eco-Green Packaging: panorama, challenges and solutions” a pragmatic approach through the mantra of the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Indeed, during the design, it is possible to reduce packaging and over-packaging in order to optimize their weight and size and to limit the environmental impact of its transport and distribution. Consumers are ready today to review their mode of consumption by favoring eco-refills, bulk or returnable packaging.

Regarding the composition, the packaging can be recyclable, compostable or be made from recycled materials, biosourced, lightened glass, marine waste… For a packaging to be recycled, several elements must be taken into account. The packaging must be single-material or easily separable and that there is a sorting and waste collection channel in the country in which it is located.

Why and how are cosmetic companies turning to eco-responsible packaging?

For several years, consumer demand for cosmetic products has become increasingly important, which is why new cosmetic technologies are emerging such as powder, tablet or solid cosmetics. In order to propose a complete eco-responsible offer, manufacturers and cosmetic brands have also looked into the question of packaging. The European Commission has also announced the objective that all plastic packaging be recyclable by 2030. At all levels, reflection on eco-responsible packaging is underway.

Brands are multiplying initiatives to reduce their environmental impact. Today, when cosmetic companies choose packaging, they ensure its compatibility with the product and take eco-responsibility fully into account. For example, several cosmetic companies (Unilever, L’Oréal) have joined forces with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a new plastic economy, by committing to promote recycled plastic in the composition of their packaging. L’Oréal also launched the “Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics” (Spice) in 2018 with Quantis, an environmental consulting company. The objective is to bring together major players in the sector, such as Clarins, Sisley, LVMH, Coty, Shiseido, in order to improve the environmental performance of the entire packaging value chain.

Cosmetics manufacturers are aware of their environmental impact. They are committed and taking action in terms of eco-responsible packaging, many developments and innovations are to come in the coming years with a common objective: to preserve our planet.

As a consumer, here are some simple gestures to lighten the cosmetic impact:

  • Review the ingredient list and certifications of your products
  • Buy your products in bulk containers and refuse samples
  • Favor brands that choose eco-responsible packs
  • Separate the lid and pump from the packaging and recycle its glass and plastic bottles and jars.
  • Avoid over-packaging