Cheers to this: Fancl collaborates with Kirin to launch cosmetics packaging made with beer by-products

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Fancl and Kirin  have partnered to successfully develop cosmetics packaging made from the by-product of beer production. [Getty Images]
Fancl and Kirin have partnered to successfully develop cosmetics packaging made from the by-product of beer production. [Getty Images]

Related tags Packaging Sustainability green beauty sustainable beauty

Long-time collaborators Fancl Corporation and Kirin Group have partnered to successfully develop cosmetics packaging made from the by-product of beer production.

In an effort to further expand its green efforts, the Japanese cosmetics company worked with the Kirin’s Packaging Innovation Research Institute to create a more environmentally friendly plastic material.

Specifically, the company hoped to find an alternative plastic to create the blister packaging for its powder foundation refills, which were previously made from petroleum-derived polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

The PET was replaced with hemicellulose, which is extracted from beer lees, a by-product in the production process of Kirin’s Ichiban Shibori Draft Beer.

Since hemicellulose is a plant-derived material, the company said using it would have less impact on the environment when discarded, even if it is incinerated. This made it an effective measure against global warming, said the company.

However, it was noted that it was difficult to mould and process the material into a sheet to make the blister packaging using only the hemicellulose. Another challenge it encountered was making it odourless and colourless.

In cooperation with Kirin, the companies developed the material by mixing the beer lees by-product with cellulose. The result is a clear material that has the appearance of plastic.

The companies believe this is the first time that beer by-products have been used to create plastic packaging and has applied the necessary patents for it.

With more research and development, Fancl hopes to expand the use of this new material for its various cosmetic products.

In 2019, Fancl and Kirin entered a capital and business alliance with Kirin acquiring 33% of Fancl shares.

Moving forward, both companies are focusing their research and development efforts on developing more environmentally friendly solutions, including packaging container design and material developments.

Eco-friendly efforts

This was part of Fancl’s ongoing initiative to reduce its reliance on plastic and switch to more eco-friendly materials.

In 2022, it redesigned 18 of its make-up products – mainly make-up tools such as make-up brushes.

The company made the switch to using wood that was harvested with environmentally friendly processes for its brush handles.  It also changed all outer box packaging from plastic to forest-friendly paper.

Furthermore, Fancl also expanded its empty packaging recovery program last year from 61 to 101 stores. It also set-up its subsidiary, Fancl Smile, with an expanded area to sort and clean the collected containers for recycling.

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