A Focus on Sustainability: Impact on Preservatives

schülke inc.'s focus on sustainability has positive ramifications for its preservative ingredients, and allows flexibility and alternatives in a brand owner's product formulas to impact claims.
schülke inc.'s focus on sustainability has positive ramifications for its preservative ingredients, and allows flexibility and alternatives in a brand owner's product formulas to impact claims.

Many consumers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have long considered the beauty industry an industry with little regard for the environmental impact of its activities. Contrary to this public perception, the industry has focused a great deal of effort on being “green.” Product stewardship—particularly in the areas of reducing water usage, waste management and conservation of energy—has been moved to the forefront of corporate policy. The schülke “Sustainability Report 2008 and Environmental Statement” documents how environmental consciousness can successfully become an integral part of the corporate philosophy of a chemical company/ingredient supplier.

A corporate philosophy of sustainability must be based on a total quality concept. This encompasses a vast array of dimensions, including workplace safety; environmental management; leadership and cooperation. It must also include the quality of products and their effectiveness in formulas. Raw material, supplier, manufacturer and formula must work in unison to provide the consumer with a product that can truly be considered “green.”

Less is More

As more traditional personal care preservatives are facing negative publicity, brand owners and formulators are looking for ways to limit or eliminate these materials from products. Materials that can boost efficacy, while adding emolliency or other functionality, can help lessen the requirement for traditional preservatives. schülke's sensiva® SC 50 and sensiva® SC 10 can be used to improve the efficacy of traditional preservatives while adding a pleasant skin-feel to many product types. sensiva® SC 10 can often be used alone or in combination other non-traditional preservation methods to provide a microbiologically stable product.


Biodegradability is an area of preservation where sustainable may be a better alternative than “natural.” Synthetic preservatives that are safe, effective and biodegradable are usually easier to use in a wide variety of formulations than are their more natural counterparts. Many of schülke's euxyl® preservative blends and both of the sensiva® preservative boosters are biodegradable, as well as being produced sustainably. All of these are globally approved, eliminating the wasted time, energy and resources involved in formulating different versions of the same formula because of differing regulatory approvals.

It is well known that sodium salts of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) can be used to boost the efficacy of preservatives. However, with the environmental fate of these materials being recently debated, several biodegradable chelating agents (ingredients that aid in the prevention of ingredient/formula deterioration) have been introduced into the market as alternatives. schülke has studied the effect of three of these alternatives in combination euxy® PE 9010 to form an improved, biodegradable, eco-friendly preservative system for cosmetic formulations. One biodegradable chelating agent in particular, tetrasodium dicarboxymethyl glutamate, in combination with citric acid gives an even better effect than can be achieved with tetrasodium EDTA. Particularly unexpected is the good effect of tetrasodium dicarboxymethyl glutamate in combination with citric acid against yeast and mold.

The study presented in the article “Can New Biodegradable Complexing Agents Replace Tetrasodium EDTA to Boost Preservatives?” proves that caring for the environment does not have to mean compromising antimicrobial efficacy. It is possible to preserve your formulas while preserving our planet.

To learn how schülke can partner with you in your efforts to become environmentally friendly, visit www.schulke-us.com or contact the company at 1-888-267-4220.


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