Industrial design and innovative consultant Morrama recently announced a breakthrough in the cosmetics packaging space: MAYA, a collection of refillable containers that include product refills composed of cellulose pulp which can be recycled at the end of their lifespan and created using renewable energy resources. The range includes options for lipsticks, a makeup palette, and dispensers for pumps and creams.
To better understand the design process, the potential impact of this packaging release on manufacturers and suppliers to the cosmetics and personal beauty care industries, as well as any future plans for additional packaging innovations, CosmeticsDesign spoke to Léa Berger, Creative Lead at Morrama to learn more.
The design process
While refillable packaging options for cosmetics and personal beauty care products is not a new concept, the implementation of recyclable refill inserts is an innovative step forward in the sustainability space. In the beauty industry, Berger explained, there is a pervasive waste problem where “ninety-five percent of packaging is thrown away and there is often more packaging than the actual product.”
Indeed, she added, the concept of “refills are not new and some brands have implemented refillable packaging systems already - however, they are often made of mixed materials and can’t be recycled,” which alleviates some of the issues with wasted packaging materials but does not provide a more comprehensive solution to reducing waste. Further, she shared, “this is particularly true in the makeup industry, where refills include mechanism parts or are too small to be recycled.”
Therefore, with the design and launch of the MAYA packaging collection, the Morrama team sought to provide manufacturers and suppliers to the cosmetics and personal beauty care product industries with an option that has the potential to help “brands and manufacturers take steps towards a carbon-neutral supply chain.”
To accomplish this goal, designers have offered a solution where “all the refills in the MAYA range are made of paper pulp and can be either composted or recycled (even with the addition of a 3% PP/PET lining that creates a barrier for products like creams and serums),” she explained. Additionally, to address the issue of increased shipping costs from higher weight packaging options, the collection has been intentionally designed “to be as minimal as possible to cut weight, also saving space during shipping” and further reducing the potential for possible material waste.
About the MAYA collection
Having addressed the packaging containers themselves, the Morrama team also closely examined the refill inserts themselves, conceiving and designing options which are composed of bamboo and bagasse pulp, which are plant cellulose based. Bamboo was a particularly intentional choice regarding sustainability as it is a “highly renewable resource that grows very quickly and captures a large amount of carbon as it grows,” Berger said.
“Bagasse is a by-product of the sugarcane industry,” she added, which allows for the potential to upcycle potential waste to further reduce environmental impact. These materials were then utilized in the refill insert cases and approximately “sixty percent of the energy used for production is from solar, wind and water power,” she also shared, closing the sustainability loop even further.
Industry impact and future innovation
In terms of potential industry impact, this innovation in sustainable packaging offers manufacturers and suppliers to the cosmetics and personal beauty care product industries “the opportunity to switch their packaging for a more sustainable solution in a seamless way while maintaining an intuitive user experience” or sacrificing quality for the end-user. Morrama was able to accomplish this through the “simplicity of the design of the refills” Berger said, “and the cases means that it is easier to manufacture which reduces production impact.
To make the potential to transition to more sustainable packaging options even more accessible, Morrama has made the MAYA range available to be purchased ‘off the shelf’, which implies a smaller financial investment for smaller or indie cosmetics and personal beauty care product brands. These options can also be customized, furthering their attractiveness as an option to repackage existing product formulations or to house new product launches.
By focusing on improving the sustainability of a product’s end of life stage, Morrama offers an option that has the potential to drive the current trend of refillable packaging to greater heights. Further, by ensuring “that the user experience did not differ (and/or was improved) from current cosmetics packaging,” Berger stated, Morrama has potentially increased the chances of successful adoption by end-user consumers.
There is still much space for further innovation in this area of packaging design. Moving forward, Morrama is working towards “an aluminum version of the range for more material options and a more premium feel,” she added, “as well as a plant-based alternative for the lining in the pump bottles and cream jar refills.”