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lip gloss
A greener gloss
Jill Park, Packaging News, 01 February 2008
The caustic nature of bleach is well known, but few people are aware of the corrosive properties of lipgloss. Choose the wrong material to package your cosmetic product and it may eat the pack from the inside out. Thankfully, many companies will be sharing their materials expertise with visitors at the forthcoming processes and packaging exhibition, Interpack, to be held in D¨¹sseldorf in April.
According to RPC Beaut¨¦¡¯s general manager G¨¦rald Martines, traditionally transparent materials such as acrylic would be damaged by the aggressive formula of lipgloss. The more robust co-polymers, however, have overcome this problem and each year new grades appear on the cosmetics packaging market, leading resin suppliers to search for the ultimate co-polymer: clear as glass, heavy as possible and compatible with cosmetics.
¡°The art is to find within the polymer landscape a material that fits with a particular application,¡± explains Martines. One material the company will show at Interpack is Surlyn, manufactured by DuPont. The resin was originally made for films wrapped around water bottles, but RPC discovered that it can also be moulded into very thick walls.
The company will show the cap from Lancôme¡¯s Hypnôse perfume at Interpack, to illustrate the capabilities of Surlyn. While the see-through resin is compatible with fragrance, it also overcomes the problem of ¡®sink marks¡¯ ¨C sunken areas on the surface that could cause difficulties when sealing the closure.
Resin developments
Alongside the cap, RPC will exhibit its range of Lancôme Fever lipstick packs. In 2006 the plastics packaging specialist collaborated with the cosmetics brand to develop a technique, unique to RPC, which produces a metallic layer, using a type of nickel. The pack incorporates two transparent panels and two metallic sides created by using two different resins; one susceptible to electroplating and one not.
RPC is also exploring bio-based products and materials made from corn-starch. The environment is a key trend driving the cosmetics packaging sector at the moment. However, the reality of making a completely environmentally friendly pack is difficult to achieve. The average lipstick case, for example, uses at least three different components, typically made from a variety of materials.
Creating a recyclable lipstick is a ¡°very difficult technical challenge¡±, explains Martines. Using a single material to create the lipstick mechanism is not as successful as using different materials and the result is often squeaky, less fluid to use and therefore not so readily accepted by the public. Meanwhile, the use of finishes typically used on lipstick packs, such as lacquering, prevents the pack from being recycled.
¡°Everybody is now working to find more environmentally friendly solutions,¡± agrees Rexam make-up product manager Pauline Uhlen. ¡°At the moment there¡¯s no supplier of cosmetics packaging that can supply all the solutions.¡±
In 2004, Rexam worked with Brazilian cosmetics brand Natura on a lipstick pack made from wood plastic composite (WPC). The material is produced using 40%-60% waste wood generated from industries such as the furniture trade and, although it is not recyclable, it benefits from a lower plastic content.
Rexam has already investigated polylactic acid (PLA) and discovered problems with the polymer: although PLA is biodegradable it is not heat resistant above 50¡ãC, which could prove to be an issue in the supply chain as the temperature in trucks often rises above this.
The company is now focusing on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). Trials carried out by Rexam have shown that this material can withstand temperatures above 100¡ãC.
The corn-based material also benefits from being 100% biodegradable and takes between nine and 12 months to biodegrade in soil. Rexam is currently working with a customer to deliver a PHA product to the market in 2008. Looking beyond this, the company intends to investigate the possibilities of using recyclable plastics.
Rexam is yet to finalise its Interpack agenda, but representatives from both the plastics and beverage can businesses will be present at the event.
PET projects
MeadWestvaco director of public relations Alison Von Puschendorf says PET is now suitable for more applications. ¡°We have seen developments in PET films in the past few years and are expecting additional capacity for PET resins, as well as overall improvement in the quality of PET.
¡°For our dispensing range we are developing new membrane systems in order to replace several parts and mechanisms,¡± she adds. These will be made from thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU) in addition to, or separate from, thermoplastic rubber (TPE).
Consumer packaging companies, including those in the upmarket cosmetics and skincare industry, are constantly looking for ways to reach the environmentally conscious consumer, argues Von Puschendorf. Like many of its rivals, MeadWestvaco offers products made from recycled PET. It also makes clear folding cartons under the name NatureSource and made from NatureWorks PLA.
At Interpack the company will exhibit sustainable packaging materials, including its Printkote Eagle product. This paperboard product is made from 30% post-consumer recycled content, which ¡°offers superior uniformity, purity and printability¡± while also featuring the recycled content that many cosmetics packaging companies are looking for.
Although recycled content has become increasingly important, virgin materials are still popular. Swedish virgin fibre board manufacturer Korsnäs will join the ProCarton creativity section at Interpack. Korsnäs will exhibit Frövi White, a board it launched in spring 2007.
The bleached board offers a high level of whiteness on both sides, aimed at the high-quality print requirements of the luxury cosmetics sector. In comparison, brands that are trying to convey a ¡®green¡¯ image often favour brown board. Annica Alexanderson, business support manager at Korsnäs, confirms that the common perception is that brown, unbleached board is ¡°more environmentally friendly¡±. Yet, the process of bleaching the Frovi White is ¡°as environmentally friendly¡±, she adds.
Fibre communication
French cosmetics brand Couleur Caramel subscribed to this philosophy by adopting unbleached Frövi Light to launch its cosmetics range in 2006. The brand originally launched without any secondary packaging. However, as it became necessary to list ingredients, certificates and barcodes, so Frövi Light brown board was chosen. ¡°The fibres speak their own language and move the target group that responds to this kind of communication,¡± explains founder and co-owner David Reccole.
The cosmetics packaging industry is very similar to the fashion industry in that it is driven by trends, and the environment is the topic du jour. Innovative use of new materials can aid the brands in reaching their goal of a fully environmentally friendly pack, which also retains the aesthetic appeal desired by customers. Many would argue that the move towards environmentally friendly packs is purely a marketing tool, but regardless it has driven development of many new materials.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop has always had a keen interest in environmentally friendly packaging and this extends to its cosmetics ranges. More than five years ago, the retailer collaborated with RPC Thornaby, which closed at the end of 2007, in the UK to patent a mono-material lipstick case.
The pack was made from 100% PP with a twist-up mechanism that functioned in a very different manner to the traditional design, which often comprises up to three or more parts in different materials.
The Body Shop was the first brand to use this design and tooled a special lipstick base and cover to house
the new mechanism.
Following the company¡¯s purchase by L¡¯Or¨¦al in 2006, the make-up was relaunched with up to 63% of the range now using packaging that contains some post-consumer recycled (PCR) material. Included in the range are the fully recyclable Shimmer Waves and Shimmer Cubes.
Aveda is another brand that is often cited for its environmental policy. ¡°Aveda was one of the pioneers in the beauty industry in pushing the levels of PCR in its bottles and jars,¡± explains Deane Maune, executive director of Aveda package development. ¡°The colourant added for PET bottles is in a powder form, which enables packaging to achieve 100% PCR.¡±
Nude Skincare
Most recently, Nude Skincare launched in the UK last summer. The brand rejected secondary packaging in favour of printing all its instructions and mandatory information on a biodegradable PLA sleeve. The range was the brainchild of organic food store specialist Fresh & Wild. Pearlfisher, the design agency behind the brand¡¯s packaging, extended the natural feel to the packs by using a plastic with a tactile finish. Up to 50% recycled post-industrial plastic waste is used to make the bottles.FIVE Rs OF GREEN PACKAGING
According to Rexam¡¯s make-up product manager, Pauline Uhlen, there are five Rs to consider when creating an environmentally friendly cosmetics pack.
• Replace with biodegradable corn-based PLA or recycled plastics
• Recycle use mono-materials so the pack can be recycled in its existing form
• Refill make the pack refillable, preventing it from being sent to landfill
• Reduce the number of components or the amount of secondary packaging
• Reuse create a pack that has a dual purpose, giving it a second life
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