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Putting on a New Face—Environmentalism’s Impact on Ingredients and Packaging

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: July 6, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Lush Cosmetics, headquartered in England with products sold in more than 30 countries, uses the term “Naked Is Nice” in referring to its packaging, or lack of it.

Approximately 70% of its products are sold naked—including bath bombs, shampoo bars, bubble bars, massage bars, body butters and solid facial cleansers. When it does have to use packaging, postconsumer recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials are used whenever possible. The total recycled content in all Lush packaging is about 89%, including paper bags, aluminum tins, gift wrap, ribbons, boxes, tags and inserts. That means that for every ton of material bought by Lush, 900 kg comes from recycled sources.

Its pots and bottles are made with 100% postconsumer recycled (PCR) plastic, saving about 65 tons of CO2 and 90 tons of virgin plastic, or 800 barrels of oil, each year.

Lush’s shopping bags are made with 100% postconsumer recycled paper, saving 100 tons of CO2 each year. It uses biodegradable plastic bags and eco-friendly packing tape to protect products for shipment. The packing tape is fully recyclable, tamperproof, tamper-evident and is stronger per square inch than polypropylene. Its gifts are wrapped with recycled paper and protected using shredded wood or recycled shredded paper, both of which are 100% biodegradable.

U.S.-based Pangea Organics, sold in more than five countries including China, utilizes brown apothecary style bottles and molded fiber packaging that loosely resembles an egg crate and is manufactured using 100% postconsumer newsprint without the use of glues or dyes. The packaging contains either embedded amaranth or Genovese sweet basil seeds, is manufactured with zero waste and is 100% compostable, biodegradable and plantable. And the company’s #2 HDPE brown plastic bottles are screen-printed rather than labeled.

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