Eco-promises are in the best interest of a company, as consumer purchasing is increasingly driven by sustainability. But 73 percent of consumers still believe that beauty brands are not doing enough to reduce waste.
Beauty brands of all sizes have developed innovative eco-packaging solutions in response to mounting environmental pressures. Another factor driving change in the sector is the emergence of new online players who use packaging as a critical differentiator.
Replenish Instead of Disposing
According to a report, more and more brands – including some of the biggest global players – are switching to refillable packaging in 2021.
Brands are challenged to invest more in packaging design and materials with long-lasting properties, such as glass, wood, and metal, to create objects that last for years to come and to eliminate single-use packaging. This ‘refill-first mentality’ can be fostered by introducing stylish packaging made from durable materials like glass or metal. They are then sold in simple glass bottles that can be reused for refilling the product.
One of the leading cosmetics brands launched its first refill concept in 2008-09, it was arguably one of the first cosmetic brands to move away from traditional packaging. According to the company, each bottle contains 92 percent less plastic than before, saving more than 175 tonnes of plastic per year.
The ‘Instagram generation’ cares about how the refillable device looks. For these refills, cosmetics companies must provide consumers with beautifully designed, long-lasting bottles and containers that do not dilute their brand or the product experience. They need to emphasize experiential and aesthetically pleasing primary packaging that works well.
As a result of their initial investment in the delivery device, consumers can also benefit from lower price points. Only the product, not the packaging, drives repeat purchases.
Greenwashing is a Thing of the Past
Today, climate change is a concern for most people. As a result, the public is starting to catch on to greenwashing, the practice of companies masking bad eco-practices through clever marketing campaigns or making false claims. According to a recent report, a product of a South Korean company that was claimed to be a paper bottle turned out to be mostly plastic.
Both the planet and the brand's reputation are at stake. If numerous consumers opting of eco-friendly products are misled, environmental goals will not be met.
People who continue to greenwash will have their reputations ruined. They may face penalties if they don't comply with regulations and lose customers to genuine eco-conscious brands. More companies will be held accountable, and they will have to make fundamental changes to become more eco-friendly.
Changes in the Material World
Plastic has dominated the packaging industry for a long time because of its durability and low cost. Due to a worldwide campaign against single-use plastic, alternatives will need to be developed and adopted more quickly than ever before.
The ban on the use of non-recyclable plastics for sachets is being discussed in forums in different countries, with many people supporting it. It has allowed other brands to take off and pave the way for more environmentally friendly packaging.
The cosmetics giants have reduced their dependence on non-renewable resources by 39 percent and are switching to lightweight, sustainably sourced materials like paper, cardboard, and wood fiber packaging.
Packaging must be designed to be more recyclable. The use of single-type materials or components is preferable as compared to mixed materials, such as metal closures on plastic bottles or multilayer laminates, which are not easily segregated. Even the color is important. Most trustworthy brands are phasing out black plastic packaging due to the difficulty of detecting the black pigment in sorting machinery in recycling plants.
Even more, companies are looking into sustainable plastic alternatives, such as corn and seaweed. Brands can use natural aging discoloration to their advantage by incorporating it into their packaging design and showcasing it to consumers as a part of their sustainable marketing campaign.
There's no denying that a functional industry is characterized by neutral colors, simple shapes, and a lack of images. Several cosmetics brands are adopting ‘debranded’ packaging, stripping back the aesthetics of packaging to its bare essentials – glossier is a great example.
Plastic film windows are being phased out, fragile products are being packed with air instead of tape, and fillers are being reduced or eliminated. Many companies are turning to 3D modeling as a valuable tool to reduce waste during the R&D process. 3D printing allows you to test your design before investing in expensive commercial tooling for feasibility, durability, and performance.
Most customers now value eco-friendly or biodegradable packaging. It is driving the minimalist packaging trend as brands adjust to the consumer sentiment towards packaging.