Why is cosmetic packaging so difficult to recycle?

Currently, only 14% of plastic packaging worldwide is recycled-only 5% of the materials are reused because of the waste caused by the sorting and recycling process. Recycling of beauty packaging is usually more difficult. Wingstrand explains: “Many packaging is made of mixed materials, so it is difficult to recycle.” Pump head is one of the common examples, usually made of plastic and aluminum springs. “Some packages are too small to extract useful materials.”

Arnaud Meysselle, executive director of REN Clean Skincare, pointed out that beauty companies have difficulty finding a suitable solution because recycling facilities vary greatly around the world. “Unfortunately, even if the packaging can be fully recycled, at best it is only 50% likely to be recycled,” he said in a Zoom interview with us in London. Therefore, the brand’s focus has shifted from recyclable packaging to recycled plastic packaging. “At least not to make virgin plastic.”

Having said that, REN Clean Skincare became the first skin care brand to apply Infinity Recycling technology to its signature product Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream, which means that the packaging can be repeatedly regenerated by heating and pressing. “This plastic contains 95% recycled materials, and its specifications and characteristics are no different from virgin plastics,” Meysselle explained. “The key is that it can be recycled indefinitely.” Currently, most plastics can only be recycled once or twice.

Of course, technologies such as “Infinity Recycling” still require packaging to enter the appropriate facilities to be truly recycled. Brands such as Kiehl’s take the initiative in packaging collection through in-store recycling programs. “Thanks to the support of our customers, we have recycled 11.2 million product packages worldwide since 2009. We are committed to recycling another 11 million packages by 2025,” Kiehl’s global director Leonardo Chavez wrote in an email from New York.

Small changes in life can also help solve the recycling problem, such as setting up a recycling trash can in the bathroom. “Usually, there is only one trash can in the bathroom, so everyone puts all the trash together,” Meysselle said. “We think it is important to encourage everyone to recycle in the bathroom.”


Post time: Nov-04-2020