Plastics have become our Planet’s n°1 enemy. Yet, when it comes to pack, inspiring initiatives coming from brands are shaking things up…And giving us hope.
Inside-out zero waste was one of our top trends for 2019: “zero pack” or “smart packaging” initiatives are rolling out at a rapid rate. Accounting for over 40% of total plastic usage, but with only 14% of it being recycled, packaging has become a burning issue, especially for the Beauty market. According to the Zero Waste association, more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, much of which un-recyclable (a regular plastic container takes about 1,000 years to decompose.)
THE PACK CHALLENGE: A NEW SENSE OF PURPOSE
Facing these catastrophic numbers, will packaging soon become extinct?
Probably not, according to Beauty experts. On last January, “How to keep packaging relevant with consumers of all generations” was one of the key conference during the French PCD event dedicated to packs.
“Packaging is not dead! It is just a question of meaning” explained Maud Cariddi, Chief Marketing Officer at Merci Handy. Packaging needs to make sense again. Whether it’s by being smarter in its form with stripped down material, thanks to eco-redesigning, or in its purpose by displaying only essential informations and taking less space.
For Merci Handy, this resulted in the creation of eco-friendly packs (100% recyclable, with 30% recycled material for hand gels), as well as smarter packaging, like the collab Merci Handy x Duralex that created scented candles in re-usable Duralex glasses.
“This new packaging paradigm started in the food segment, and is now naturally cascading on Beauty, as most trends are. We are currently observing two new ways of addressing packs” says Leïla Rochet, founder of the Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency. “One that we call beautiful waste, which is essentially eco-friendly packs, where packaging are made from sustainable forests for example, or when the pack already comes from recycled material. And a second one, harder to achieve in cosmetics, that we call naked, which is a 100% plastic-free or even pack-free product.”
ECO-CONCEPTION: “BEAUTIFUL WASTE”
Fortunately in 2019, a various range of products are now offering eco-friendly options. Legacy brand Guerlain entirely re-designed the Orchidée Impériale Moisturizer, now 60% lighter, and is currently working on La Petite Robe Noire’s bottle for 2020. Eminence Organics’ skincare uses boxes made from post-consumer recycled material, which can be later recycled. The organic skincare brand Meow Meow Tweet aims for Zero Waste with recyclable and biodegradable packaging (each product is either hand wrapped in PCW paper or housed in glass containers). The men skincare brand Bulldog Skincare has replaced its usual plastics with packaging derived from sugarcane, significantly reducing its environmental impact and carbon dioxide emissions. Even the giant Garnier launched a new version of the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean shampoo and conditioner in a bottle containing 50% recycled plastic.
ZERO WASTE: THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE?
The 100% pack-free initiative is a different kettle of fish. If solid cosmetics have been around for decades, making them high-end, sensorial and hygienic is a new challenge. It also implies new rituals and gestures, among which installing refillable habits, and therefore, whole new processes for brands. “ Our planet deserves clean, too,” decorates the refillable stations at Follain in New York, a nice demonstration on how zero waste can also be super hype.
Of course, Lush is (and has been) the uncontested leader in this area. After its pack-free foundations and highlighters last summer, the brand released the Naked line, a collection of 10 new vegan, self-preserving, zero waste skincare products, with solid face oils, under-eye masks and face cleansers. The brand also just announced the opening of a third “naked store” in Manchester, following the packaging-free shops in Berlin and Milan.
Will the future be naked? One thing is sure: Beauty brands are trying to reconcile luxury and sustainability, and they aren’t done being creative.
Zero waste and the new challenges for packs are part of the latest trend report Inspiration From the US - Skincare Edition, created by the Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency. For more informations, feel free to contact the team.