Innovations in sustainable packaging continue to support the trend towards greater environmental sustainability as the industry standard in cosmetics and personal care products.
Earlier this year, Sulapac, a material development firm based in Helsinki, Finland that provides packaging materials also for US cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers and suppliers, announced the launch of its latest and most sustainable packaging option: Sulapac Luxe, a novel bio-based material ideal for luxury fragrance caps and other cosmetic products.
The material affords manufacturers the opportunity to substitute traditional plastic fragrance caps and packaging with a more sustainable alternative without sacrificing quality or a polished overall look, according to the company.
To learn more about the development process behind Sulapac Luxe, challenges that needed to be overcome to launch the material, and the potential environmental and cost-saving impact of utilizing a bio-based packaging option for cosmetic and personal care products, CosmeticsDesign spoke with Sulapac CEO and co-founder Dr. Suvi Haimi for her insights.
Concept and development
When creating the Sulapac Luxe collection, the research and development team undertook “an extensive development process to ensure [the material] fulfills the quality standards set by the most demanding luxury brands,” shared Dr. Haimi. The development of bio-based Sulpac Luxe fills a need for luxury fragrance and cosmetics manufacturers and suppliers as the material can replace more traditionally used hard plastics with a recyclable alternative, she said.
This affords companies the opportunity to “cut down their use of non-renewable, fossil-based materials” and eliminate permanent microplastics emissions. The developers created a material that leaves behind no toxic load, and when “compared to virgin, oil-based plastic, Sulapac Luxe materials are also a climate friendly option,” Dr. Haimi said.
To develop Sulapac Luxe, the company drew on its “previous cooperation with high-end brands like CHANEL, a great advantage which provided a lot of valuable information and experience to succeed in bringing this type of material to the market,” she added. The resulting packaging options are available in nine colors that are inspired by Nordic nature and can also be produced in custom colors according to specific customer needs.
In developing and launching Sulapac Luxe, the company needed to account for specific considerations regarding the material’s overall look and functionality. “Luxury brands have very specific requirements in terms of the look and feel of the materials used in their packaging,” shared Dr. Haimi, which is “understandable, as the packaging is such an important element of the customer experience.”
Additionally, the team also needed to that the material needed “to perform as well as conventional plastic when it comes to functionality and processability,” she explained. As a result of the company’s careful attention to detail regarding these aspects, the final performance and appearance of Sulapac Luxe “meets all these aspects and give cosmetic brands, even the ones with the highest quality standards, the opportunity to replace conventional plastic with a sustainable, bio-based alternative in various applications” stated Dr. Haimi.
One challenge that still faces the Sulapac team is the limited access to recycled source materials, said Dr. Haimi. “Access to desired amounts of recycled content is something we are currently working on intensively,” she shared, “but this is something that will change in the future once the chemical recycling infrastructure and process gets established.”
Potential innovation impact
The material launch has significant potential impact for the cosmetic and personal care product industries considering Sulapac Luxe’s ability to “allow brands to replace conventional plastics, including ABS, in various applications such as fragrance bottle caps, compact powder boxes, lids, and jars,” shared Dr. Haimi. In addition to affording brands the ability to “further reduce their dependency on oil-based materials,” Sulapac Luxe also makes it possible to “avoid microplastics emissions” due to the material’s bio-based nature.
She further noted that “previously there hasn’t been a truly sustainable material for the afore mentioned applications that would have all the required mechanical and organoleptic characteristics, and the desired quality that many high-end brands are after, so Sulapac Luxe is a game changer.”
Additionally, Sulapac Luxe offers brands a cost-effective approach to environmental sustainability. The material is “designed for existing plastic converting machinery, meaning there’s no need to invest in new production lines when switching from conventional plastic,” she explained.
Further, the material is easy to process, and therefore suitable for mass-production. This characterizes the innovative material as a “is a very competitive option for brands that are not willing to compromise on sustainability, functionality, or aesthetics,” she said.”
Cosmetics and personal care product companies interested in converting to Sulapac Luxe as a more sustainable packaging material option can look to beauty brands like BetterBarrel by Schwan Cosmetics and Infinity Line by Toly, both of which have already made the switch to Sulapac materials in their product packaging.
Additionally, Sulapac “has also developed premium quality solutions in collaboration with CHANEL, including sustainable bottle caps created exclusively for the fragrance range LES EAUX DE CHANEL and the lid for the N° 1 de CHANEL Cream,” as detailed in a company press release.
Regarding future innovations from Sulapac, Dr. Haimi shared that there’s currently “a lot going on behind the curtain and hopefully we can share something exciting soon.” In the interim, it will be intriguing to see if other companies in the cosmetics and personal beauty care spaces follow suit and consider converting to more bio-based packaging options for new product releases, or re-releases of existing product lines.