Some people enjoy a challenge. Increasingly, makers of all types of daily use products must consider the complete life cycle of each, including packaging, through use and beyond. As populations grow overall, and urban areas become more dense, what people dispose of has become a more pressing topic. As the costs of energy and materials increase, conservation becomes a goal. These are positive social developments, but meeting the goals and addressing the issues effectively with smart, attractive packaging is a challenge.
The beauty & grooming sector is making an effort to stylishly innovate environmentally responsible packaging, and the April issue of Beauty Packaging Magazine explores just what is - and is not - "environmentally responsible."
Environmental Packaging International (EPI) president, Victor Bell, writes in this issue that regulation requirements are crucial to the effort to manage the complete cycle of commonly and/or heavily used products. Closed loop consumption, or Cradle-to-Cradle certification, is ideal. But recyclable, reusable and biodegradable packaging, as well as packaging that conserves energy or other resources in its production or transport, is more achievable than ever.
Bell writes that materials matter. Some common features of cosmetics packaging, such as glosses and metallic hot stamps, decrease the recyclability of the paper they're applied to. He asserts 95% fiber content is the best choice. For plastic, clear, green or very light blue PET or unpigmented HDPE are the most easily recyclable.
The recyclable symbol, three chasing arrows, indicates that packaging is recyclable in a "substantial majority" of areas.
Many urban areas have developed robust recycling programs, able to accept a variety of materials. Additionally, a growing number of beauty companies have begun their own recycling programs, offering to accept empty containers from their products, in store and by mail, just in case the packaging materials are not recyclable in all areas. At this rate, and with all parties working in conjunction, just like those chasing arrows, environmentally responsible packaging in the beauty & grooming sector will be ubiquitous in years to come.