Sustainably attractive: recycled plastic for cosmetics packaging

An innovation in the field of decorative cosmetics: for the first time ever, a cosmetics company is using post-consumer recycled plastic from used packaging from the Yellow Bag/Yellow Bin to manufacture the packaging for its beauty products.

Starting from the spring of 2021, the expert for decorative cosmetics, cosnova, is launching its CATRICE nail polish vials and its camouflage+ matt and camouflage+ healthy glow essence concealers with caps made from Procyclen. As part of the relaunch of its best-selling essence lip gloss products, extreme shine volume lip gloss, cosnova is also using Interseroh’s recycled plastic for the caps – and reducing the amount of material used by some 25 percent. Procyclen is made from plastic waste collected in the dual system by the environmental services provider Interseroh according to strict quality standards. Moreover, the caps do not come into contact with the product contents.

“cosnova is a trendsetter, and that includes the field of sustainable packaging design,” explains Axel Geiger, Executive Expert Purchase & Packaging at cosnova. “By increasing the use of recycled materials in our product packaging, we want to contribute to reducing the use of new plastic. A corresponding note on the nail polish caps is also designed to raise awareness for the importance of recycling for the protection of the environment and the climate.” According to scientific studies by the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, the use of the recycled plastic Procyclen results in a 54 percent reduction in climate-damaging greenhouse gases compared with the use of new material.

The use of Procyclen in decorative cosmetics sends an important signal for the market. So far, clear legal standards are yet to have been agreed regarding the use of plastic recyclates from packaging waste from the Yellow Bag/Yellow Bin in the cosmetics industry. The example of the cosnova packaging shows what is technically possible in the area of plastics recycling today. With the award-winning Recycled-Resource process, Interseroh produces quality-assured recyclates according to individual specifications. “The formulation developed especially for cosnova contains more than 94 percent post-consumer material, and was precisely tailored to the customers’ requirements through the minimal addition of precisely combined specialist additives,” explains Dr Manica Ulcnik-Krump, Head of Busines Unit Recycled-Resource at INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH. “This ensures that the recyclate fulfils all the quality expectations in terms of its colour, mechanical resistance and stability in processing, not to mention the material purity, and therefore fulfils the exacting requirements of decorative cosmetics.”

Field test passed: In this sector, too, recycled plastics can serve as a full-value substitute for new materials – and reduce the burden on the environment at the same time. This is all the more reason to encourage its use and to support it at the political level with suitable regulations, whether through binding standards or financial incentives.

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Written by Kevin Gambrill