100% Responsible Packaging
Albéa aims for 100% Responsible Packaging
A pioneer of sustainable packaging, the company is speeding up its transformation and breaking down barriers within CSR. Here’s a look at the Responsible Packaging initiative that was presented a few months ago.
Albéa’s commitment to CSR is nothing new, but today it’s at a turning point.
“We’ve been pionniers of these issues for fifteen years and today we’re clearly accelerating the movement. We feel that something is beginning to shift: our clients, actors in the beauty industry, are more and more aware of these concerns and consumers are ready to change,” explains Caroline Hughes, Market Manager Skincare.
Albéa has placed itself as a driving force within this transformation. In October 2018, the company was the first specialist in beauty product packaging to sign the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. It’s a strong decision that means committing to producing plastic packaging that’s 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
A Policy With Five Axes
Presented in 2019, the Responsible Packaging program, which delineates the company’s major packaging policies, sets new, higher limits. There are five main axes: reduce, reuse, recycle, use of PCR (post-consumer recycled), and the development of biosourced packaging.
Reducing packaging is the first of these axes that Albéa began working on, using eco-design. The company is the world leader of the cosmetic tube market, where it achieved notable results by experimenting with both the body and the capsule of the tube. In 2018, Albéa presented the ultra light Thin Wall +Slim Cap tube, which weighed 33% less. “There’s still room for improvement, especially with laminated products. This particularly involves pushing consumer habits to evolve, because the feel isn’t exactly the same. Nevertheless, perceptions are changing,” states Caroline Hughes. Consumers are progressively coming to understand that “thinness” doesn’t mean “fragile” or “discount” but “ecofriendly”.
Also committed to promoting a circular economy, Albéa Tubes developed two major initiatives: using recycled materials (PCR) and producing technically recyclable tubes. Why “technically”? “Because a product can be recyclable but not recycled, and it’s a problem that’s sometimes beyond Albéa’s control. The good news is that the recycling centers all over the country are now equipping themselves to be able to recycle tubes, yogurt pots, etc. By 2022, it will be a widespread practice all over France,” predicts Caroline Hughes. Today, the tubes produced by Albéa are practically all “technically recyclable.” There’s still room for improvement when it comes to pumps, which still contain non-recyclable elements such as springs and beads. “We’re currently working to get rid of these elements,” assures Caroline Hughes.
The Rise Of PCR, 100% Recycled Plastic
By favoring PCR plastic, Albéa dives head first into the circular economy. PCR is fabricated with packaging used by consumers and then recycled. Albéa is increasing the number of its innovations in an effort to convert clients. “Aesthetics can sometimes be a barrier,” says Caroline Hughes. “PCR can’t attain the perfect whiteness that other prestigious products have. The game is to tackle this challenge by inventing new trends.” The company proposes four solutions: a tube composed of 50% PCR, a tube called “Max PCR” with a maximized amount of PCR, the “Beautiful PCR” which has a nice whiteness thanks to an external layer of virgin material, and the “Ultimate PCR” which is composed of PCR and bio-sourced materials— meaning it has no virgin plastic.
Albéa also tackles the recyclability of tubes and were recognized in October 2019 by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), who certified the Greenleaf laminated tube as perfectly recyclable within the HDPE bottle process.
In 2025, 10% of plastic will be bio-based
The reuse of packaging is a future axe that’s well on its way. Consumers are increasingly in the habit of keeping part of the packaging. Albéa is marketing lotion pumps, twist-off sprays, and a rechargeable perfume pump (Spiral) and removable makeup palettes.
Lastly, the company made a name for itself this year in the bio-based material industry. In October 2019, Albéa and L'Oréal presented the first cardboard-based cosmetic tube. Albéa Tube’s commitments in this domaine as also ambitious: in 2025, 50% of plastic will be from bio-based materials. “The competition with animal or human consumption is a key subject and we’re looking to work more with bio-based materials beyond sugar cane, corn, etc.,” notes Caroline Hughes.
The fabrication of products is not the only area where Albéa promotes its ecological expertise. Employees, suppliers, clients: everyone is motivated and encouraged to join in this (r)evolution.