This year at Luxe Pack LA, the scent of sustainability was in the air. Compared to last year’s show, there was a perceptible shift towards greener materials and processes. Many of the packaging vendors had at least one earth-friendly item on display and mentioned sustainability in their messaging.
What was trending at the show:
Post-Consumer Recycled Plastics
With all the talk about ocean plastic over the past year, post-consumer recycled plastic was a major conversation topic for vendors and attendees. We saw many booths displaying post-consumer plastic options for bottles and componentry, as well as textiles made from post-consumer plastic bottles used for cosmetics bags. Choosing PCR plastic is one of the easiest and most effective ways that beauty brands can reduce their environmental impact.
Rice, Corn and Hay
Lots of new materials were popping up for beauty packaging, including rice, corn and even hay. With any new material that claims to be biodegradable, it’s important to find out whether it biodegrades in a marine environment, in case it happens to end up in the ocean. In some cases, these materials must be mixed or coated with a small amount of plastic—which means they wouldn’t biodegrade. But even so, anything that reduces virgin plastic use is a step in the right direction.
Molded Fiber Packaging
Molded fiber is a great alternative to plastic vac trays and clamshells. The molded fiber from Golden Arrow is made from bamboo and sugarcane (both sustainable crops)—and it is biodegradable. It can also be made in any color and printed on, which opens it up for all sorts of uses in packaging.
Newly Recyclable Components
We saw some innovation in the world of componentry, where vendors are working to develop recyclable designs for component types that are typically not recyclable. For example, airless pumps are a big offender in the skincare world, made with many different types of materials that cannot be disassembled and are thus destined for the landfill. Premi Beauty Industries has developed an airless pump that can be taken apart after use to recycle most of the individual parts. They are also working on a refillable version (yay!). Another example is plastic compacts, which usually require metal for pans and hinges, making the package non-recyclable. However, Roberts Beauty is developing a line of hingeless and fully recyclable compacts that are beautiful, functional and earth-friendly.
It takes some extra creativity to design eye-catching, premium looking cartons that don’t harm the environment. Curtis Packaging is known as one of the most sustainable printers in the industry, offering several proprietary finishes and printing effects that are blingy—but still recyclable—and don’t produce excess waste. When it comes to eco-friendly paper stocks, Neenah Paper is the place to go. Neenah showcased a beautiful collection of 100% post-consumer stocks that would make any designer swoon.
Thanks to all the Luxe Pack vendors for sharing your latest innovations with us.