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Brief Published: 28 May 2018

Sustainability Solutions: Luxe Pack New York 2018

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72% of consumers would pay more for sustainable packaging

Rising consumer demand for sustainable packaging and a recent wave of corporate pledges to do better were evident at Luxe Pack NY (May 16-17), with more suppliers promoting sustainable concepts.

  • Will Consumers Pay More?: Swedish manufacturer BillerudKorsnäs presented the findings of a 2017 consumer panel across 16 megacities. Seventy-two per cent said they would pay more for products packaged in ways that provide “substantial sustainability benefits”.

    LuxePack vendors said smaller brands and their consumers are leading the way. “Customers will pay up in the niche sector,” said panelist Anne Sanford, founder of NYC-based fragrance brand Lurk. Generally speaking, she said: “The more you give options to choose sustainably in an easy manner, the more they will do it.”
  • Upending Perceptions of Value: Panellists urged luxury brands to help shift the perception of premium products being weighty. “Luxury packaging isn’t heavy glass jars anymore,” said Michael Robinson, head of packaging innovation at L’Oreal. “There’s too much energy and material sucked up in that thing.”

    Signs of change in the luxury sector include Chanel’s lightweight, ultra-thin bottle for the new Gabrielle fragrance, which launched in September 2017, and Guerlain’s redesigned Orchidée Impériale cream jar (see also Luxe Pack Monaco 2017). 

If the tension is luxury versus sustainability, design and innovation can be the bridge to help resolve that. Luxury is the ability to choose, and we can choose differently.

Michael Robinson, head of packaging innovation, L’Oreal
  • Bottle Aligned with Brand Ethos: Seed Phytonutrients, a L’Oréal USA natural bodycare brand that launched in April 2018, uses an innovative pump bottle by Ecologic Brands. The outer packaging is made with recycled corrugated cardboard that’s compostable and can stand up to use in the shower, and is held together by interlocking tabs, avoiding the need for glue. Within, a lightweight liner is comprised of 80% post-consumer recycled polyethylene. In keeping with the brand name and ethos, a packet of seeds sits between the liner and the shell – customers are encouraged to plant them.
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Chanel
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Guerlain
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Seed Phytonutrients
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Seed Phytonutrients
  • Tackling Plastics: As discussed in Evolving Plastics, plastic litter (especially in the oceans) has become a high-profile concern, helping to shake up traditional approaches. For instance, German packaging company Linhardt is exploring sustainable fillers to use in conjunction with conventional plastic – chalk is one promising option.

    Companies including Express Tubes and WWP (both American) promoted their polyethylene tubes made from sugarcane ethanol. Wista, based in Brazil, claims to be the only company producing both a tube and a pump from this bioplastic. See also Sugarcane Bioplastics: Sustainable Applications.

    Chinese company Golden Arrow’s moulded fibre is made from bagasse (sugarcane fibre) for burst strength, and bamboo for tensile strength. Its green factories use 100% renewable energy and recycle water on-site. The company is currently expanding from consumer electronics packaging into cosmetics and food. 
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Express Tubes
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Golden Arrow
  • Paper-Cup Progress: The plastic-based lining in paper cups prevents them from being easily repulped. Signalling a growing impetus to find solutions to this issue, Starbucks launched its NextGen Cup Challenge in March 2018.

    Finnish company Kotkamills has introduced a proprietary water-based dispersion barrier that can replace a polyethylene plastic lining, while UK manufacturer James Cropper touted its CupCycling scheme. After used cups are collected from partners including McDonald’s, the plastic lining is separated from the fibre, with the latter then being made into paper or packaging (see our blog post for more).

  • Packaging Reincarnated – Musical Box: French company Dapy Paris showed a box with an integrated Bluetooth speaker, positioned as a way for packaging to enjoy a “second life”. Brands could also provide custom playlists through an accompanying app.  

  • Collective Action: Corporate collaboration will be essential to making strides, according to US-based sustainable packaging consultant Sandeep Kulkarni. He praised the new Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics (SPICE), which was launched this month by L’Oréal and global sustainability consultants Quantis to explore topics including bioplastics, finishing and decorating processes, reusable/refillable packaging and take-back programmes. Members include beauty brands Shiseido, Coty Inc. and Clarins Group.

For more, see Packaging Futures: Sustainability and Packaging Innovations 2018.

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Starbucks launched a NextGen Cup Challenge in March
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Kotkamills
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James Cropper
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Dapy Paris
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Dapy Paris
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