The challenges of sustainable skincare packaging
We all want to be more eco-friendly with our everyday skincare. Unfortunately, sustainable skincare packaging isn't seen a lot within the skincare industry. Why aren't skincare brands being more eco-friendly in their packaging design, and what is the solution?
Our design agency is passionate about all things eco-friendly. Skin is our largest organ, so we must take care of it. We’re also living in a global warming crisis, and as non-recyclable plastic production clogs up our ecosystem, we must take care of that too.
88% of US and UK consumers want brands to help them be more environmentally friendly in their daily lives. Most are willing to pay a premium for sustainable packaging, so brands must care about eco-friendly packaging.
There have been developments made to minimise the impact of plastic within the health and beauty industry, the UK has banned microbeads (plastic particles used in many cleansers, scrubs, and kinds of toothpaste), but there is a long way to go.
Why is it so challenging to have eco-friendly skincare packaging?
Some companies avoid sustainable packaging due to certain recyclable and compostable materials being more expensive. 43% of brands have said the cost is one of the most significant obstacles in switching to sustainable packaging, as the non-recyclable plastics used more commonly in the skincare packaging industry are cheaper due to their abundance.
It is worth spending extra on sustainable packaging when 74% of people say they will pay more for eco-friendly packaging. With 79.6 million tonnes of packaging waste each year in the EU alone, there’s no excuse not to use more sustainable options.
When skincare companies want the benefits of their customers paying a premium for eco-friendly packaging but don’t actually want to manufacture sustainable skincare packaging, they use a tactic called “greenwashing”, which we discussed in the previous blog. This is when companies use words like “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” with no objective evidence to back them up.
This only adds to the challenges of sustainable skincare packaging, as it’s hard to decipher when a brand is lying to you or telling the truth; we recommend reading our greenwashing blog to understand what the packaging design red flags are to avoid.
What is the solution to sustainable skincare packaging?
There are many excellent options for sustainable packaging that can solve the problems of eco-friendly skincare packaging; let’s talk about it!
Not too far removed from its politically incorrect cousin, post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics are made from recycled plastic, ensuring that one-time-use plastics are a thing of the past!
PCR plastic is an excellent alternative to packaging made with non-recyclable plastics.
If you prefer something reusable to something recyclable, then glass may be your best option. Glass is an excellent material for eco-friendly packaging, as it is 100% endlessly recyclable. It’s also inert, offering excellent protection on skincare options and ensuring skincare options have a longer shelf life.
We worked with Wild England to create the packaging design for their eco-friendly health and beauty brand. When designing the look and feel for Wild England’s packaging, we needed to find the most eco-friendly way to keep the glass safe during transport.
How did we do this? Through a new exciting alternative to Styrofoam made with Mycelium.
Mycelium is a root-like structure of a fungus that is combined with hemp hurds to create natural eco-friendly compostable packaging that can be used as a sustainable alternative to things like Styrofoam.
Mushroom-based packaging is durable enough for some skincare companies’ primary packaging. Beauty brands like Wildsmith Skin and Naya have replaced plastic boxes with the mycelium-based compostable packaging alternative.
Going back to basics, another fantastic sustainable packaging option is cardboard. Cardboard is one of the most widely recycled materials, which makes it an excellent alternative to plastic in many scenarios. Cardboard also helps to prevent moisture from infiltrating your product and is lightweight, ideal for branding as easily printed on and coloured, and (best of all) affordable!
Our brand packaging design agency has used cardboard for numerous packaging projects, including the eco-friendly beauty brand Scrummi and children’s natural bath and body brand On!Juniper. Both offered beautiful end results, which minimised both brands’ carbon footprint.
I want to be sustainable! How can you help?
Packaging design is something our branding agency is incredibly good at, with a proven track record. Our creative team are very knowledgeable across multiple packaging forms, especially when designing with sustainability in mind.
We select our partners with ethical and sustainable practices as essential criteria.
Our print partners are FSC accredited and only use biodegradable vegetable inks, all reinforced with state-of-the-art eco-friendly print technology. We also use recyclable or compostable materials at all times, including labels, an area brands often get caught out. They claim to be sustainable yet do not appreciate the adhesive used on labels often prevents materials from properly degrading. If you want to hear about our agency’s sustainability journey, click here.
Yes, we do choose eco-friendly packaging options, and yes, we are a sustainable design agency. We just love to create great branding and design for our clients!
If you want to get involved in sustainability for your brand, contact us!
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