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Sustainable Innovation

By: Sara Mason
Posted: December 6, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 6

Natures Organic uses recycled PET and supports the “endless bottle” concept, which results in approximately 240 tons of PET materials being reused and recycled every year, according to Justin Dowel, managing director. The company also recently partnered with Cardia Biohybrid, which will provide bioplastic cap material. “Bioplastic is made from renewable plant-based ingredients, as opposed to a petro-plastic (PVC, PET and PP) made from crude oil,” explained Dowel.

Biodegradables represent the fastest-growing material segment in packaging. Biodegradable materials are easily decomposed by microorganisms and reduce packaging waste. Among biodegradables, bioplastics are garnering the greatest attention.

While there is growing research in bioplastics packaging, there are concerns about high-heat sensitivity and water permeability that prevent such packaging to be used for many cosmetic products—creams, lotions and shampoos. Yet the demand continues to swell, presenting an opportunistic market as bioplastics evolve. “P&G research has shown us that around 70% of consumers around the world want more environmentally friendly products, but they’re not willing to compromise on performance, aesthetics or value,” said P&G’s Rushmore. Brand owners are aiming to overcome existing concerns by improving performance of its biopolymer packaging.

P&G recently announced plans to use a renewable plastic from Braskem SA, which manufactures the material using ethanol made from sustainably grown Brazilian sugarcane [additional information on this partnership is available in the November 2010 issue’s “Inside Brazil” column]. The HDPE material will be used for select Pantene Pro-V, Cover Girl and Max Factor brands packaging. The pilot launch will be rolled out globally during the next two years, with the first products expected on shelf in 2011. By using a sugarcane-derived plastic instead of traditional petroleum-based plastic, P&G beauty brands hope to make a meaningful environmental improvement by reducing the use of non-renewable materials.

Brazilian brand Natura will also be using green polyethylene packaging produced by Braskem for a range of soap refills, and a rollout for other products is expected as soon as supplies become available.