6 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Beauty Package



Appropriate packaging is key.



By Norman Kay, CEO, IBC Shell Packaging



Brands needn’t go to market naked in support of our planet’s deteriorating eco-system; they just have to be packaged more appropriately. Sustainability is equally compatible with ultra premium, upscale or modest product offerings. You want a commanding environment enveloping your product. You want the brand to look brilliant, to quickly engage your shopper, and outshine your competition to the right and left while conveying “take me home!”

No problem; do it, trim down, lose weight, look svelte and reduce that footprint. And, yes, size does matter. You may no longer oversize. You’re a brand new Brand.

The terms green, sustainable, and ecologically friendly are bantered about, often misused, and frequently misleading. Sustainable packaging is manufactured using substrates that have a neutral effect on the planet’s ecological system; acting to preserve our environment and without consequence to individual health. Ideally an environmentally safe packaging life cycle would encompass material sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, consumer use, and reprocessing. The object is to utilize materials that have been recycled, are recyclable, biodegradable, or possibly compostable. These materials are then converted and produced with environmentally clean processes, using minimal energy resources and transport volume.

Brand owners are experiencing enormous rewards for becoming environmentally responsible. By implementing an intelligent ecological strategy corporations have achieved stunning results; a measurable contribution to a sustainable environment, a ‘greener’ bottom line attained through material reduction and process refinement, consumers’ awareness that the company is aligned with socially responsible actions, and a positive acknowledgment from the corporate board of directors as well as shareholders.

Brands like Eco-me.com, Aveda and Toms have diligently embraced sustainable accountability.

Six Steps To A Start


1. Analysis of existing structures, footprint, decorative/print specifications, and materials to realize a net reduction in environmental impact and cradle-to-cradle resource recovery.

2. Assessment of all packaging substrates to establish which materials represent the key targets in minimizing packaging impact.

3. Evaluating alternative materials with higher recyclate content.

4. Examining the manufacturing consequences of new package designs on clean converting methods, energy sources, transport fuels, and eventual disposal of materials.

5. Initiating the re-design, alternate material selection, package component and composite testing, revised specifications, and quality management.

6. Strategic sourcing, procurement and tracking verification.

Ecologically Prudent Materials and Benchmarks:

- Paperboard with up to 100% recycled fiber.

- APET thermoforming plastics containing up to 90% recycled material.

- PLA (Polyactic acid) 100% biodegradable corn derivative plastic for injection molded parts, thermoformed inserts, and clear folding cartons.

- Agri-Soy Inks containing zero petroleum additives and releasing minimal VOCs (volatile organic compounds.)

- Hybrid UV and Aqueous coatings that exhibit up to a 46% reduction in VOCs.

- Synthetic reflective emulsions utilizing 90% less metallic than traditional reflective foils.

- 100% recyclable and biodegradable molded pulp from discarded newsprint.

- 100% biodegradable and compostable film, principally from wood pulp and sourced from 100% managed forestry.

Ultimately zero packaging would end up as trash. The package would function to display, sell and protect the product; have secondary value, and finally re-cycle into a renewed source. Right now it’s about corporate responsibility, adhering to current and ever more stringent regulations, and being open to informed consumer scrutiny.

“We didn’t inherit the land from our fathers. We are borrowing it from our children.” Amish saying