Adoption of renewable, recycled materials in packaging pushed

Beauty brands and manufacturers can create innovative solutions for sustainable packaging as consumers also make hygiene a high priority amid the after effects of the pandemic.

Rivani Changgra, a client success specialist in Asia-Pacific (APAC) of trend forecasting company WGSN, said bioplastic production and application is set to grow in the coming years yet, concern remains over the sourcing of sustainable biomass as well as questions over degradation rates.

Changgra said the industry thus must continue to evolve to keep up with current challenges.

“Due to legislative changes and shifting consumer attitudes, the adoption of renewable and recycled materials in packaging will become crucial for survival. Don’t overlook the importance of innovating in materials sourcing and manufacture, and keep an eye on how the bioplastics industry progresses,” she said in a webinar.

With the backlash against bioplastics with long degradation rates which can only be activated in industrial composting facilities, Changgra said companies are focusing on home compostable materials which enhance the wider environment and do not release toxins or microplastics.

Sourcing biomass from more sustainable sources is becoming increasingly important, she said.

“Seaweed is gaining traction as a highly biodegradable source material that does not compete with agricultural crops for land and resources,” she added. “Flexsea has created a sustainable biomaterial that replaces plastic film packaging and degrades in a matter of weeks.”

Changgra said plastic packaging continues to switch to mono-material use, with manufacturers reducing the amount of unnecessary or even toxic extras, amid increasing regulation around plastic packaging in global markets.

Polyoxymethylene (POM), also known as acetal, has been identified as a material to avoid, while complex product designs are reducing the use of multi-material components,” she said.

“Consider the wider benefits of switching to mono-material packaging and how this can be translated to your consumer. With the potential to reduce weight, size and carbon footprint as well as being more easily recyclable, the switch to a single polymer has huge potential in creating a sustainability story that resonates with consumers.

Changgra said beauty brands and manufacturers are seen moving towards carbon-negative material production as the number one environmental focus is currently carbon.

“Reducing carbon content is set to be a key consideration in the creation of next generation sustainable materials,” she said.

Changgra further said the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, and material innovation is focused on improving hygiene and health.

“Hygiene is continuing to be an area of focus, with antibacterial and antimicrobial science becoming popular across a wide range of materials and applications. Companies are looking to adopt these advantages in order to build consumer trust and loyalty by helping to prevent the spread of disease,” she added.

As part of the anti-waste revolution, Changgra said consumers are starting to focus not only on the waste accumulated through packaging but also the product itself.

“Material innovation creates new ways of packaging products with a focus on optimal dispensing and the avoidance of cosmetic waste,” she said.

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