Study shows that recyclates can be used in cosmetic packaging

29 Mar 2021 - Mainz - Company-News

Joint research work by Beiersdorf, Werner & Mertz and Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging

Is it safe to use recycled plastic from the Yellow Bag for the production of cosmetic packaging? If so, which type of recyclate is suitable? What tests are required? For the first time, thoroughly researched scientific answers to these and other questions are provided in the recently released document entitled "How to evaluate post-consumer polyolefin recyclates in cosmetic packaging?" The Guidance Document is the result of a joint study conducted by the cosmetic company Beiersdorf of Hamburg, the Mainz cleaning products manufacturer Werner & Mertz and Dr. Frank Welle of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV). In addition to the document, the study produced the first industry standard for the use of mechanically recycled plastic for cosmetic packaging, which provides answers to the most pressing questions and assistance to national and international recycling companies and manufacturers alike.

Overview of current market situation and clear recommendations for action

The associated study offers an overview of the recyclates in the market, primarily from the material group HDPE; existing recycling processes; the qualities of currently available recyclates; and their suitability for the manufacture of high-quality cosmetic packaging. The analysis indicates which pre-conditions have to be fulfilled in order to establish a functional circular economy for cosmetic packaging made from used plastic. Manufacturing companies will find directions on obtaining validation of cosmetic packaging made from used plastic that comes from post-consumer waste collections like the Yellow Bag and a description of a structured process for an analytical and toxicological evaluation.

"We have created a solid foundation for the proper handling of recyclates in the future and have shown that conformity to standards for cosmetic packaging made of post-consumer recyclates can be achieved and will be ensured," said Immo Sander, Head of Packaging Development at Werner & Mertz.

"Our ambition is to substantially increase the proportion of recyclates in our plastic packaging. By 2025 we want to reach 30 percent. With the jointly developed guidelines we want to actively contribute to giving the recycling industry orientation and assistance with the urgently required additional capacity of high-quality plastic recyclates for the cosmetic industry," said Michael Becker, Head of Global Packaging Development, Beiersdorf AG.

The study gives companies specific recommendations on using recyclates from the Yellow Bag in cosmetic packaging.

Guidelines will be made available to the public for the good of the environment

Until now, manufacturers in the cosmetics market and recycling companies have been uncertain about the use of Post-Consumer Recyclates in cosmetic packaging. The applicable EU Directive 1223/2009 on cosmetic products says that manufacturers can put into circulation only products that are safe. Under which conditions recyclates may be used is not defined there – hence, the uncertainty about whether and what type of recyclates correspond to safety criteria.

In the spirit of the Open Innovation approach, the guidance document will be made available free of charge on the Websites of both companies and the Fraunhofer Institute so that as many people as possible can look into the results and overcome reservations about the use of recyclates. A change of opinion would create a need, which, in turn, would accelerate investment in processing systems and make the repeated reuse of recycled plastic more economical. All of that would be good not only for companies but for the environment too.

The guidance document in English can be called up with this link:

The work continues with the Industry consortium CosPaTox

Both companies will share their knowledge and partial results of the joint study with the Project CosPaTox (Cosmetic Packaging Toxicology). The industry consortium CosPaTox, which arose from the #ForumRezyklat established by dm, deals with the standardization of high-quality PCR materials, especially for cosmetic applications.

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Werner & Mertz GmbH
Corporate Communication
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55120 Mainz
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