A cleaner solution: Innerbottle aims to replace silicone insert with new material for easier recycling

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Innerbottle is working to replace its current silicone inserts with a new thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) it has developed called TPX. [Innerbottle]
Innerbottle is working to replace its current silicone inserts with a new thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) it has developed called TPX. [Innerbottle]

Related tags: Packaging, Recycling, Sustainability, Sustainable packaging, circular beauty, green beauty, South korea

South Korean sustainable packaging start-up Innerbottle is working to replace its current silicone inserts with a new thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) it has developed called TPX, which will make it easier to recycle.

The main goal of this is to make the entire Innerbottle system easily recyclable at the general recycling centre. This is hindered by the company’s silicone inserts, which are considered non-recyclable items.

At the moment, the silicone pouches have to be collected separately and set to be recycled at various facilities in several countries like Thailand and Germany.

“We found that to be quite difficult and frankly, didn’t make much sense​. Our main goal is to make both the outer packaging and inner bottle recyclable at the recycling centre,​” Innerbottle CEO Steve Oh told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

According to Oh, TPX is made from a new compound with similar properties to TPE. “TPX can be stretched and has low permeability to air and water. And it's recyclable, you just apply heat, and it melts down and you can use the resin again.”

Innerbottle is the brainchild of Oh, a former patent lawyer who founded the company in 2016. The system was developed to solve of the problem of residue waste in cosmetic products which can hinder the recyclability waste packaging.

With the special ‘inner bottle’ insert, it ensures that the outer shell is clean and ready to be recycled instantly.

The company is currently gearing up for its Series B funding round and it hopes a successful round can help it to get its TPX project off the ground.

Currently, the TPX inserts are not being mass manufactured. However, the company is working with South Korean direct-selling company Atomy to produce products with the new TPX inserts.

The two companies will also partner with CJ Group’s CJ Logistics to implement the recycling programme.

Oh told us that this will be the “first step”​ in the TPX project. Next, the start-up is planning to implement this programme in Singapore.

Singapore will be Innerbottle’s first overseas venture. Oh explained that Singapore was a small market with a consumer base that is highly aware of sustainability, making it an excellent place to test this closed-looped system.

“We want to work with local Singaporean cosmetic brands and logistic companies and try to run and see if it works.”

In addition to the TPX project, Innerbottle is also partnering South Korean firm LG Chem to develop another insert made with its nitrile butadiene latex.

Utilising latex would open the company to new opportunities, notably, to work with lower-cost personal care products such as shampoos or body lotions, or potentially even household products.

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