Packaging spotlight: Top 10 most-read stories on cosmetic packaging and design in 2021

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

The biggest cosmetic packaging and design stories. [Getty Images]
The biggest cosmetic packaging and design stories. [Getty Images]

Related tags Product Npd Innovation

In this 2021 round-up, we list down the biggest cosmetic packaging and design stories featuring smart packaging solutions, new sustainability initiatives and more.

1 – ‘Small changes for a big difference’: Shiseido’s ELIXIR aiming for all key products to be refillable by 2025

Shiseido-owned ELIXIR is targeting to convert all of the brand’s flagship products into a refillable format by 2025​ as part of the multinational’s sustainability goals.

Launched in 1983, ELIXIR is a skin care brand that specialises in anti-ageing care that has maintained tops sales ranking in Japan for 14 consecutive years according to Intage’s Nationwide Retail Store Panel Surveys.

ELIXIR currently offers refills for its lotion and milky lotion products. According to Shiseido, utilising refills can reduce ELIXIR’s use of plastic by 85%.

The Japanese cosmetics giant plans to accelerate these efforts and expand ELIXIR’s initiative throughout Asia and by 2023 it hopes to reduce approximately 400 tonnes of plastic annually.

2 – ‘Create lasting value’: NZ’s Emma Lewisham aiming to cut product carbon footprint ‘close to zero’ by 2030

Emma Lewisham has laid out targets to reduce its product carbon footprint as “close to zero as possible” by 2030 after achieving its goal of becoming a carbon positive beauty brand​ with a 100% circular designed business model.

The Kiwi brand was established in 2019 by CEO Emma Lewisham, who set out to develop a circular beauty brand that kept its resources in circulation to eliminate waste and reduce its carbon footprint in an industry that generates 120 billion units of waste every year.

On September 29, the brand announced that had achieved its goal of becoming a carbon positive beauty brand within the timeline it set for itself​.

Over the last 12 months, the company worked with an independent environmental certification agency Toitū Envirocare.

3 – Shroom protection: Mushroom Material targets cosmetics sector with sustainable alternative to styrofoam and cardboard packaging

New Zealand start-up Mushroom Material has developed a sustainable mushroom-based material​ as an alternative to polystyrene styrofoam and cardboard packaging and is targeting the cosmetics sector for its first products.

Made from the vegetative part of mushrooms called mycelium and fibrous agricultural waste, the material is robust to withstand impacts, yet is biodegradable within six weeks.

Suitable for products from cosmetics to cutlery, the packaging is customisable to any shape, size and surface finish. It is also, pound for pound, stronger than concrete and has a better thermal insulator than fibreglass. Furthermore, it is odourless, mould resistant and non-toxic.

The company was founded by Shaun Seaman in 2020 after observing the huge amounts of waste material produced globally.

4 – Smart and green: How NFC-enabled packaging can help beauty brands aid the environment as well as drive engagement

NFC-enabled packaging can help to minimise the environmental impact of product packaging​, in addition to boosting engagement with consumers, claims a company that has recently worked with Paco Rabanne.

The brand recently unveiled a connected bottle for its Phantom fragrance for men.

The refillable robot-shaped bottle is embedded with an NFC chip. Users can simply tap it with their smartphone and gain access to the Phantom Universe, which houses exclusive content such as interactive filters, personalised playlists, and interactive games.

“Now, it's important for brands to exist somehow within the digital space even though their product is a physical product. They can reach out to spend time with the end-users. Of course, the point is to bring what is meaningful to the users because there is plenty of content available to them,”​ said Giuliana Curro from electronics firm STMicroelectronics, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland and has operations across the world including the US, France, Singapore, and China

5 – ‘Reverse recycling’: Korea actions new scheme to aid goal of recycling 10% of cosmetic packaging by 2025

Korea Cosmetic Association (KCA) and Korea Packaging Recycling Cooperative (KPRC) have announced a new recycling program for companies to achieve the goal of recycling 10%​ of cosmetic packaging by 2025.

The Reverse Recycling Scheme of Cosmetic Containers is a joint business agreement inked by KCA, KPRC and the South Korean Ministry of Environment (MoE).

It stipulates that cosmetic manufacturers or importers that have glass bottles, PET bottles, or other synthetic resin packaging materials, can apply to join the reverse recycling scheme with KPRC.

With this recovery campaign, the authorities aim to recycle 10% of cosmetic packaging by 2025. In 2019, only 0.56% of packaging was recycled in Korea.

6 – ‘Responsibility to drive change’: Watsons targets more markets for refill stations after successful Malaysia launch

Health and beauty retailer Watsons will launch Naturals by Watsons refill stations into Hong Kong stores this month, following a successful pilot in Malaysia.

As part of its company’s sustainability initiatives, Watsons launched the first Naturals by Watsons refill station in Kuala Lumpur in February to reduce the overall impact of its plastic use.

The station, located in Sunway Pyramid, offers six eco-refills for bestselling products from its house brand. According to the firm, the eco-refills use up to 58% less plastic than a regular bottle.

The launch was in line with the company’s target to offset 2,250 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Additionally, the initiative honours Watsons’ support of ClimatePartner’s Forest Protection and Clean Ocean initiatives.

7 – Long-term goals: Bondi Sands committed to forging more sustainable path in the next three years

Australian self-tanning and skin care brand Bondi Sands has outlined how it aims to become a leader in the sustainable beauty arena​ by focusing on packaging, ingredients and CSR.

Founded in Australia, Bondi Sands first launched in August 2012 and is currently is available in markets such as the US and UK in addition to its home market.

In the past two years, the company has been working on taking a more sustainable approach to its business.

“We started looking at going into this direction probably two years ago now. For most of our products, the packaging is made out of multiple parts – like springs and such. We started to become very aware of our own footprint. We saw it as an opportunity as well, not just to create a product that was sustainable, but create a product that would work better,”​ said founder and CEO Blair James.

8 – ‘A big step’: The Body Shop believes reuse and refill habit will ‘definitely’ become mainstream in Singapore

The Body Shop has begun rolling out in-store refill services in Singapore where it believes the reuse and refill habit​ will become mainstream among beauty consumers.

The Natura-owned company has started to roll out its new in-store refill system en masse across 500 stores globally this year and plans to extend it to 300 stores in 2022.

This is the first phase of a five-year plan to expand the refill program across the globe.

In Singapore, the firm will begin its refill services at two stores in the coming months, starting at ION Orchard and Plaza Singapura Activist Workshop stores in July and August respectively.

9 – ‘A lot to look forward to’: NZ’s Ecostore highlights global eco-initiatives it will undertake in 2022

Kiwi brand Ecostore has underlined the global eco-initiatives it will be focusing on next year, including expanding the footprint of its refill stations​ and reducing its reliance on water in its formulations.

Ecostore is a leading brand in sustainability that offers a range of products from skin and body care, to baby and home care. The company was founded in 1993 by Malcolm and Melanie Rands and had humble beginnings as a mail-order business based in an eco-village in New Zealand’s North Island.

Fast forward to today, Ecostore now operates in more than a dozen markets, including Japan, Korea, China, and Singapore, in addition to its home markets of New Zealand and Australia.

Since its inception and overseas expansion, the company has seen an uptick in consumer adoption of eco-friendly alternatives.

10 – War on waste: Aussie brand My Soda aiming to fizz in sustainable beauty space with refillable hair care range

Australian personal and home care manufacturer Natures Organics has launched a range of refillable hair care products​ as sustainable packaging is rapidly becoming an “expectation” from Australian consumers.

Hitting shelves in major supermarket chain Woolworths in May this year, My Soda is the latest hair care brand from Natures Organics, a family-owned producer of personal and home care products from Victoria, Australia.

The new brand consists of plant-based shampoos and conditioners housed in refillable bottles crafted from recycled plastic, as well as refill packs designed to reduce plastic waste.

“Our bottles are designed to be reused over and over again, and our refill pouches use 80% less plastic than our standard bottle,”​ said Elise Synnott, marketing manager, Natures Organics.

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