The big cosmetics players edge towards bioplastics

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

With sustainability clearly the biggest issue when it comes to cosmetics packaging, we take a look at how cosmetics companies such as L’Oreal, P&G and Shiseido are taking to one of the most promising green materials – bioplastics.

That the bioplastics market is set to double by the year 2015 and that some of the biggest industry players are already adopting the material underlines the fact that this material can no longer be dismissed as a fly-by-night trend.

The European Bioplastics association estimates that in 2011 700,000 tonnes of bioplastics will be produced worldwide in 2011, a figure that is expected to explode in coming years, leading to a production total of 1.4 million tonnes by 2015.

With the majority of this growth expected to come from demand for packaging used in fast moving consumer goods, cosmetics players, both big and small, are expected to contribute significantly to this growth, as they tap into the trend for sustainably sourced products with greener credentials.

Europe has the highest uptake but emerging markets are catching up

Although Europe currently has the highest uptake for bioplastics and is consequently the largest market, the biggest growth markets are those of Asia and South America, where consumers are rapidly adopting more eco-friendly products.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy initiatives in the cosmetics field was the announcement in March of this year that L’Oreal USA wants to make bioplastics a key part of its drive for greater sustainability.

Philippe Bonningue, VP of packaging and development at L’Oreal USA says the company is continuing to test new packaging materials, including bio-pet, green PE and PLA, and stresses the fact that light weighting, recyclable content and sustainable cardboard are all top priorities.

Shiseido launches shampoo using Inego bioplastic

Leading Japanese player Shiseido has also been leading the way in bioplastics take-up, a fact that was underlined at the end of last year when it debuted a shampoo bottle using Ingeo bioplastic for its Urara hair care range.

The bottle was previewed at the Climate Change talks in Cancun, where the company gave a presentation to draw attention to the initiatives it has undertaken to reduce its carbon footprint, while stressing what an important part bioplastics are expected to play in helping it to achieve this goal.

Meanwhile another leading personal care player, P&G, announced last year that it was selected its leading cosmetic and personal care brands Pantene Pro-V, Cover Girl and Max Factor to debut its 100 percent recyclable bioplastics packaging.

The bioplastic it is using is sugarcane-derived plastic and is claimed to be made from a renewable resource using a process that transforms sugarcane into high-density polyethylene plastic.

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