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Highly efficient recyclable plastic packaging design was made possible by collaboration between Beiersdorf, Borealis, Clariant, and Siegwerk.

November 9, 2022

3 Min Read
Image courtesy of Clariant

Design4Circularity, a personal care packaging concept, won this year’s Sustainable Packaging Award from Ecovia Intelligence announced November at the 2022 Sustainable Beauty Awards ceremony.

Resulting from a unique value chain collaboration between Beiersdorf, Borealis, Siegwerk, and Clariant, the concept centers on giving packaging waste a second life in applications suitable for multiloop recycling.

Fundamental to the concept is the use of a recyclable colorless bottle with 100% post-consumer recyclate (PCR) labeled with a printed, de-inkable full-body shrink sleeve. This allows complete sortability in current recycling infrastructures.

“Packaging made from recycled plastic is playing an increasingly important role in cosmetic products,” says Stefan Rüster, a packaging sustainability expert at Beiersdorf, speaking on behalf of the team. “But for us and our peers to push on and achieve the target of viable, fully circular solutions, it is vital to consider the entire lifecycle when creating a new design. This includes polymer production, polymer addition, and printing and design along with sorting and recycling. By bringing the expertise of all four partners to the table, the team has successfully created a blueprint for the rest of the industry that enables fast adoption and scale up. We’re honored to have its potential recognized with the Sustainable Packaging Award.”

Key aspects: a natural color HDPE bottle and de-inkable sleeve label.

The award-winning packaging consists of an uncolored high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or PET bottle made from 100% recycled polymers, with a full-body sleeve-label printed with de-inkable inks that deliver the superior aesthetic quality needed for this market.

Borealis brought its expertise in advanced, transformational mechanical recycling technology by offering high quality post-consumer recyclate (PCR) based on proprietary Borcycle M technology. Additionally, Clariant brought expertise in designing additive solutions to ensure targeted stabilization and high protection of PCR quality by preventing polymer resin from degradation and by maintaining good performances at each recycling step.

Ink manufacturer Siegwerk was able to provide ink systems, which, in collaboration with Beiersdorf and a sleeve manufacturer, enabled printing of the sleeve to achieve a full body color-printed and appealing sleeve label. The idea behind this is a modular system that shifts the decoration to a sleeve and keeps the bottle transparent for higher-quality PCR.

Trials prove successful.

First sorting trials in existing recycling infrastructure proved the sortability of the full-body sleeved HDPE bottle to permit a high recovery of the bottle’s material. Additionally, the project team conducted trials with full body sleeved, transparent PET bottles and achieved similar results.

“We’re excited to be joining with the industry to pave the way towards more sustainable packaging and ultimately greater sustainability in beauty,” comments Bettina Siggelkow, head of sustainability affairs, Clariant. “We’re proud to bring progress through our additives that support PCR use in durable, recyclable packaging, as well as advancing products themselves via science-backed active ingredients and naturals for the cosmetic market with a positive sustainable and socioeconomic impact.”

The aim of the Sustainable Beauty Awards is to provide recognition to those who are pushing the boundaries of sustainability in the beauty industry. The Sustainable Packaging Award is given to a new packaging format that has low environmental footprint, which can be in terms of materials, design, and/or end-of life.

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