China introduces law to reduce cosmetics packaging

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care products Cosmetics

Chinese authorities have introduced a new law aimed at cutting down on the amount of packaging on a host of consumer goods, including personal care.

The law was announced in September and is due to be implemented on January 1, 2009, by which time all fast moving consumer goods that are manufactured or sold in the country are expected to comply.

China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has issued an ordinance that aims to control the size, volume, type of material and cost of the packaging that is used.

No more than three packaging layers

In particular the regulation targets products that contain more than three layers of packaging and those that increase the size of the actual product inside by more than 45 percent.

Likewise the packaging should not exceed more than 15 percent of the value of the product contained inside.

This means that any consumer goods that flout these rules, including personal care products, that are manufactured or imported into China cannot be sold on store shelves from New Year’s day 2009.

Law presents new challenges

The move will come as a challenge for personal care marketers in China, where packaging plays a crucial role on the decisions that an increasingly sophisticated and discerning consumer take.

Packaging is used as a tool to differentiate products on increasingly competitive segment, as well as helping to enhance a product’s image, particularly with regards luxury personal care products such as fragrances and anti-aging creams

However, environmentalists have long pointed the finger at China’s poor record with regards to recycling and pollution, singling out both manufacturing and the fast-growing consumer market as being the main culprits.

Blame put on fast-paced development

All this has been linked to the country’s breakneck economic growth, which has developed so fast that authorities have often been left red faced as gaps in regulations have led to big problems.

One example of this has been the rise in the amount of waste in urban areas, which is becoming increasingly difficult to manage given that waste volumes have been consistently growing by more than 10 percent per annum in recent years.

The AQSIQ says that at least one third of the CNY280bn (€29.1bn) worth of packaging disposed of each year is considered to be excessive.

Related topics Packaging & Design

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