Refill solutions are revolutionizing the cosmetics industry

"Reduce, reuse, refill" is supposed to solve the packaging problem of beauty products

Refill by on repeat
Source & Copyright by On Repeat

Author: House of Eden

The beauty and personal care industry is said to produce 120 billion packaging units every year, according to the organisation Zero Waste. And the trend is rising. The fact that most of this is plastic, gives reason to push trend-setting buzzwords such as consumerism or minimalism. At least on the customer side. Because on the company side, there is more at stake: a fundamental rethink and the search for solutions for logistics, processing and packaging.

Currently, the beauty industry in particular is positioning itself as an innovation driver in terms of sustainable packaging. While clean beauty has long gone from niche to mainstream and ingredients are skin-friendly, cruelty-free, non-toxic and organic, the "outside" is now following the "inside". More and more brands and companies are launching environmentally friendly and effective solutions to reduce plastic in the cosmetics industry. From biodegradable packaging materials to refill solutions, pioneering work is underway.

Sustained demand confirms awareness

The reason for this willingness to change is the increasing demand for sustainable and ethical products, which is being driven vehemently by the Millennials and Gen Z, the consumer group with the highest turnover. These confront established brands with uncompromising demands for environmental protection and thus determine new standards that can determine the relevance and survival of a company.

This mentality is also confirmed by the British Beauty Council. According to the 2020 report, 91% of consumers surveyed want less packaging, while 88% would like to refill their cosmetics and 39% think brands should invest more in environmentally friendly packaging.

Biodegradable packaging

On repeat is positioning itself as one of the first B2B services to offer beauty brands a packaging and fulfillment solution for the delivery of refills. The principle: the company partners with beauty brands and offers the service of packaging products in the form of refills, delivering them and putting them in consumers' mailboxes within 24 hours.

What makes them special is that they are patented films that are at the forefront of biopolymer research and effectively biodegradable at home. They are compostable or dissolvable as well as certified food safe, so they do not pollute soils or waters depending on how they are left.

Source & Copyright by On Repeat

On Repeat's dissolvable foil: The dissolvable film is suitable as packaging for brands that offer water-free serums as well as oils. After use, it is then possible to dissolve the pouch in hot water (>70°C). And it is completely waste-free. No microplastics are produced and residues are completely eaten up by microorganisms so that they biodegrade to carbon dioxide, water and mineralised biomass.

On Repeat's Compostable Film: Products that are not oil-based go into the compostable film. This is made from a bio-based mixture of natural products such as paper, eucalyptus fibres, manioc and corn starch. After use, it can be disposed of on the compost heap or in the garden bin and degrades naturally.

Refill solutions for cosmetics and household

More and more brands are appearing on the international market that offer their beauty, hand washing or cleaning products in sustainable packaging. Moreover, often in environmentally friendly powder form, which is available as a refill. Just like FORGO. The venture of the design studio From Us With Love tackles the plastic problem of the cosmetics industry by offering hand washing powder to which only water needs to be added. 100% natural and plastic-free.

Source & Copyright by By Humankind

Refillable deodorants are also available, for example, from Myro or By Humankind. And this simple, eco-friendly principle can also be implemented in the household. Brands like Spruce or Klaeny offer reusable, recycled bottles in which consumers can dissolve refills of powder or tabs. Unlike conventional cleaning products, they are completely plastic-free, non-toxic and CO2-saving.

What challenges does the industry have to face?

In the future, it can be assumed that the entire care sector will orient itself towards sustainability due to the undeniable demand. And this demand will be met with plastic-free solutions and refills. What is important, however, is that innovation must continue to be driven forward. It is important that the solutions are not only environmentally friendly, but also efficient. That the products lose neither quality nor hygiene.

Another challenge is the communication that companies have to do. Often there is a lack of essential information to actually consume sustainably. Especially with regard to the CO2 footprint. Less emissions from the use of washing powder are calculated over the entire life cycle of a product. And if, for example, a glass bottle is part of the basic inventory of the product, these emissions usually reach breakeven after one year. Only then, and thus only with the long-term use of a product, are emissions saved compared to conventional products. This is exactly what companies need to communicate in order to educate.

When it comes to recyclable packaging, there are also some problems that need to be considered. In many authorities, the infrastructure is not sufficient for effective recycling. Material types are incorrectly identified and sorted, and the technology for reprocessing is often inadequate or non-existent. This makes it all the more important to create socio-political awareness for any shortcomings and to seek dialogue with authorities in order to promote sustainable change.

What does that mean for the future?

The challenges show that the beauty industry is in transition. It has already achieved a lot and yet still has to overcome obstacles - especially with the help of innovation. New ways of thinking, technology and science need to break with tradition and be bold. Modern manufacturers show that this works and thus pave an interesting as well as promising path towards a plastic-free future.

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