Infinitely recyclable: Meiyume identifies aluminium as key material for sustainable packaging solutions
The firm began working on sustainable packaging solutions 24 months ago. Since then, it has gradually increased its resources and is now focusing 90% of its innovation and incubation efforts on such projects.
“Within this strategy, one of our main pillars is focused on recyclable packaging solutions. Drawing from our knowledge and expertise of 20 years working with multi-materials, we have identified aluminium as a key material,” said Stephane Bulle, VP of primary packaging and innovation, Meiyume.
In November, the firm announced that it had developed the Infinite Aluminium Packaging Range, a line of cosmetic bottles and jars made from aluminium.
“Aluminium and its versatile interpretation of beauty became one of our priorities. The Infinite Aluminium Range is just the beginning of this exciting journey,” said Bulle.
Aluminium is one of the most recycled materials on the market today. It is 100% recyclable and retains its properties thereafter.
Recycling aluminium saves more than 90% of the energy required compared to producing new material, bringing a significant reduction in carbon footprint and energy consumption.
Better than plastic
Emmanuelle Delage, manager of product development and engineering, elaborated that aluminium was chosen because it was infinitely recyclable with already existing global recycling channels and is comparatively easier to recycle than plastic.
“When it comes to the recycling prospects, aluminium has the edge. First, aluminium recycling is a true closed-loop – it is infinitely recyclable! Recycling plastic is much more complex – only few plastic resins are recycled, and it always leads to degradation,” said Delage.
He noted that according to the Aluminium Association, nearly 75% of all aluminium produced was still in use today.
However, working with the material is not without its challenges. For instance, the team has found a way to craft the bottles and jars to give a smooth curvature bottom and a streamlined shape, which is usually difficult to do, according to the firm.
“Particularly on our jar range, the challenge was to build a mono-material cap. We also wanted to start creating new shapes using materials that will aesthetically look closer to what is existing in the market, such as plastic, but is also eco-friendly, so as to merge consumption desires with sustainability codes,” said Delage.
Furthermore, thanks to their durability, aluminium containers are also the perfect solution for refillable concepts, a concept we are beginning to see more of in the market.
“On a sustainable metrics standpoint, refills have a great, undeniable impact. If you further consider the adoption of this refill-type concept as a true end-to-end effort, from the consumer to the brands to supply chain players, we will enter a ‘new normal’ where we can witness a real acceleration of this transition,” said Bulle.
He added that the firm itself had already filed six patents for refill and re-use type packaging concepts in the last 18 months.