‘Not one and done’: Beauty packaging ‘will continue to be a problem to solve’ – Jurlique
The Australian beauty company, which traces its beginnings to 1985, is currently amid an expansive re-packaging push.
“We're committed to shifting to sustainable packaging. We also have a commitment to our customers. We have to keep delivering a good experience for them that’s equal to what they've experienced in the past,” said Kristina Banfield, sustainability and social impact lead, Jurlique.
This means the firm adopts strict quality control measures at every stage of the development and manufacturing process to balance trade-offs between durability, aesthetics, and sustainability to consistently deliver to a high standard, Banfield elaborated.
Jurlique has managed to improve the environmental profile of 92% of our retail packaging, including 100% recyclability for glass and plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) primary packaging.
Despite its achievements so far, Banfield highlighted that the company and the industry at large were still in the initial stages of this journey.
“Packaging will continue to be a problem to solve, for individual companies as well as industries and nation-states. Everyone needs to come together if we’re to progress into a circular economy with higher innovation, broader recycling infrastructure, and more effective resource recovery,” she said.
For instance, Banfield highlighted the difficulty of finding a suitable replacement for conventional pumps.
“Pumps pose a real challenge as there are very few validated options in the market, which are 100% recyclable. We’ve discussed removing them, but that may cause the consumer to dose more product than required so then that becomes wasteful instead. It’s a win-lose.”
Marion Goyet, global head of brand and marketing, Jurlique, believed that the industry was still in the trial-and-error phase.
“In beauty, it's a lot of testing and learning. I was very keen to work with bio-plastic packaging, but I learned the material is not yet stable enough to withstand prolonged humidity. So sometimes you need to park your ideas for a bit and wait for the technology to catch up.”
Another major challenge was contending with inadequate recycling infrastructure in various different markets.
“Waste management is done differently in different countries, but it also varies between municipalities within the same country. This results in inconsistencies, due to the varying infrastructure and processes used in handling packaging waste. Yet, infrastructure fit is one of the most important things to get right so it’s a real dilemma when you’re a global company.”
The company currently works with TerraCycle to operate a free recycling program nationwide in Australia.
“Our TerraCycle partnership is one of the most utilised in Australia as our consumers are very eco-driven. To date, we’ve collected almost 7 tonnes of used packaging. That’s a lot of waste diverted from landfills and incinerators.”
One of the Australian Packaging Covenant’s (APCO) 2025 National Packaging Targets was to phase out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging.
As Jurlique has been a member of the for over 15 years, it “fully intends” to play its part in meeting that goal, said Banfield.
This means not just concentrating on recycling but reducing and reusing as well.
“Every time we consider a product we consider if we can reduce the packaging components, if the product needs a secondary packaging, for example. So, the reduce part is definitely something that is quite important for us,” said Goyet
The firm also sees a lot of potential for highly attractive “keep-forever” packaging, which would encourage refilling and reusing.
“The beauty industry can consider packaging a little differently. Maybe not to look at it as waste but creating something beautiful that can sit in your bathroom that the consumer is happy to keep refilling,” said Goyet.
Aside from packaging, the company is also working to localise its packaging production.
“We see re-localising supply chains as a major focus area for manufacturing as a whole, not just the beauty industry. The pandemic really highlighted the fragility of global supply chains and logistics so regional sourcing strategies will definitely be on the front foot.”
At the moment, the firm has ensured 70% of its packaging has a local supplier option.
“It has been a long journey to change our suppliers and to localise as much as possible,” said Goyet, who noted that the company has been working to do so since January 2021.
Banfield added: “It has also come at an expense. Right now, the cost of using sustainable packaging is higher than conventional packaging. This is due to the materials involved and the sourcing of them, but also due to less-established supply chains, manufacturing processes, and lower economies of scale. It’s not always been an easy straightforward switch.”