Brands across the world are switching to PCR, mono-material recyclable, aluminum, glass, cardboard and other sustainable material, but the European market is making the change more quickly due to regulation, Sarah Bachir-Levy, cosmetics and personal care marketing manager at Eurofins, told CosmeticsDesign.
Bachir-Levy said adding safety testing into selecting sustainable packaging is important to ensure consumer safety and to make sure sustainability claims are substantiated.
“Everybody would like to have sustainable packaging to promote and push ... on social media,” Bachir-Levy said. “The problem that you can have if you don't incorporate (safety testing) is it could be harmful to human health and safety.”
Integrating safety testing into sustainable packaging selection
When selecting the right sustainable packaging option for a given product or brand, Bachir-Levy said there are a few steps of safety testing a company can take.
First, Bachir-Levy said brands can send Eurofins information about the packaging and the product to do a safety and regulatory assessment based on existing literature. However, because there are so many new, innovative sustainable packaging types and materials she said that process alone may not provide enough safety information.
In that case, companies can put together an analytical testing and safety assessment plan to determine if packaging materials will be safe. Eurofins testing can include performance, safety and sustainable design assessments to ensure packaging meets regulatory, legal and consumer needs.
“Usually we do detection and quantification of all packaging ingredients and the non-intentionally added substances, which is one of the most important and hardest things to implement in the protocol,” Bachir-Levy said.
These tests are important to perform due to the risk of the potential transfer of toxic materials from the packaging to the formula inside.
Other considerations in picking a sustainable packaging option
Bachir-Levy said Eurofins also included several other factors in determining the safety and sustainability of a packaging option.
The safety testing company can audit packaging suppliers and packaging material suppliers as well. Materials like recycled plastic resin are in high demand by brands, but they would also like to have as much safety information as possible, Bachir-Levy said.
“The idea is to avoid reusing or recycling harmful materials,” Bachir-Levy said. “We can say ‘oh, my materials are recycled, so I can say they are sustainable,’ but in the end, if you are recycling harmful substances and harmful materials, it’s not sustainable.”
Eurofins is also keeping its eyes on innovation in the biodegradability and compostability of packaging, which Bachir-Levy said is becoming more popular in sustainable packaging development.