Industry News

Elemis, the British skin care brand, is aiming to transform plant waste into bio-based films to replace sample packaging

by | Oct 25, 2023

Two announcements have recently been made from separate companies that they will be switching to alternative, plastic-free materials for packaging. These companies are Elemis and One Good Thing. Elemis will be turning their sample packaging into packets that are made from bio-based film, whilst One Good Thing will be focused on their recent launch of the world’s first wrapper-free snack bars.

One Good Thing has proven that producing and selling snack bars without a wrapper is possible and is an excellent strategy for reducing the amount of plastic waste. This process is done through using beeswax and other bio-based ingredients, to coat the bar in a thin and edible layer of film which does not disintegrate when wet and is, as the company says, “hard enough to hold and protect the contents but is thin and soft enough to chew easily”. This means that this new variety of plastic-free packaging is ideally made for transport, whilst also being safe for consumption, making it an extremely innovative invention and brilliant step forwards for reducing plastic waste. The bars are also packaged in cardboard boxes, however these boxes are made up of 70% recycled content and are easily recyclable at home, so there is no added waste from these.

Following this, Elemis has announced their plan to begin developing bio-based films which will replace the packaging which their sample skin care products come in. They have chosen to create a partnership with Xampla, who is a company that specialises in biodegradable materials and this partnership will help Elemis generate their new product. The process the companies will use to create the product will involve Xampla’s pre-existing Morro Materials, which was Xampla’s first material on the consumer market. The difference will be that the feedstock will be provided by Elemis and this will be made from the plant waste from Elemis’ product supply chain ingredients. Both companies are aiming that within six months of their collaboration, the process will be producing heat-sealable films which will replace the single-use plastics used in skin care product samples.

The next step for this necessary and innovative project is for Elemis to experiment with this new material and determine if it can be developed and grown into a full-scale product and launched to the consumer market. This goal ais realistic as Elemis is a certified B-Corp and this goal also aligns with the company’s aim to ensure that all of its packaging is either recyclable, reusable or biodegradable by 2025. If this project is a success, it will have a hugely beneficial impact on the recycling industry and on the drive to reduce the amount of plastic waste. Currently, plastic sachets are not able to be recycled as they are too lightweight and composed of too many different materials, that the recycling process for them is too costly and too difficult. Therefore, switching sachet material to be plastic-free, will enable them to be recycled, increasing the market for recycling facilities and consequently reducing the amount of plastic waste.

Elemis’ co-founder and chief product and sustainability officer, Oriele Frank, commented, “We continue to innovate and investigate new ideas, and partners wherever possible with organisations that can help move the dial on key environmental or social challenges. What we find so exciting about this project is how utilising waste from left-over plant material can potentially tackle one of our key packaging dilemmas too.”

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and Innovate UK, collectively decided to provide the Elemis and Xampla project with a grant to make this project possible. As well as this, the PlasticFree campaign provided a lot of support to the innovative project, making it clear that this is a step forwards that the industry focused on reducing plastic waste believes is necessary.

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