AirCarbon packaging is different from conventional plastic packaging, which is manufactured in the US with petroleum products. Some plastic, made elsewhere, uses crude oil.
A personal care turning point
The Body Shop has partnered with Newlight to adapt that company’s plastic making technology for the personal care market. Their joint research and development should mean that containers and caps made from AirCarbon will be on the shelf at the Body Shop before long and perhaps a new eco standard in beauty packaging thereafter.
"We are excited about our new research partnership with Newlight. We share their philosophy that a more sustainable future can be achieved through working together, embracing innovation and driving new ways of thinking," says Christopher Davis, international director of sustainability with The Body Shop.
The beauty retailer boasts over 3,000 shops in 62 countries and prides itself on having “pioneered the philosophy that business can be a force for good and after being acquired by L'Oreal in 2006, it is scaling up its vision,” according to a press release announcing the deal with Newlight.
A catalyst for change
“The Body Shop is the first company to commit to an effort to industrialization of AirCarbon in the beauty industry,” the statement notes.
Newlight’s CEO Mark Herrema credits the beauty company industry leading environmental innovation and explains, “With The Body Shop, we are replacing oil with carbon that would have otherwise become part of the air and changing the role of materials in society."
AirCarbon is made using captured methane gas from factory farms, landfills, and energy production plants. That gas, oxygen and the Newlight 9X biocatalyst are key to the manufacturing of the plastic.
The AirCarbon plastic is, in essence, a long chain PHA-based thermoplastic material, according to the company site. “Once synthesized, AirCarbon is removed from the reactor system and processed into a pellet, which is then melted and formed into shapes,” explains Newlight.
A profitable idea
The Body Shop partnership looks like a smart move for Newlight. Cosmetics packaging market “growth over the next ten years will come most notably to the skin care segment and be due, in large part, to the merits of plastic materials,” reports Cosmetics Design.
Market research suggests packaging that does less environmental harm will win out in the coming years. “Increasing emphasis on sustainability of packaging can be hard for some cosmetics products, especially luxury brands,” according to a recent report from visiongain.