Why an aluminum bottle?
Being eco-responsible means caring about the product... and the packaging!
Launching a cosmetic project with a strong eco-responsible dimension should lead you to ask yourself two questions:
- My product - cream, soap, shampoo, etc. - is it eco-responsible?
- Is my packaging too?
When we asked ourselves the question of packaging for Loubaïo, the path was not simple and the areas of analysis were numerous.
Our choice ultimately fell on aluminum and we will explain to you, in complete transparency, why.
We are opening the discussion, any reaction is welcome!
Our axes of analysis
Here, to begin with, are the five axes that we selected to carry out our analysis:
- Manufacturing: method and location?
- “Recyclability”: is it recyclable? If yes, how many times?
- Recycling sector: is the sector organized? Effective ? If your material is recyclable but no company does it, it will end up as waste…
- Transport: what is the carbon footprint linked to the transport of your packaging?
- Usage: does it meet the constraints of the product we wish to transport?
There are several solutions for transporting our liquid shampoos, but not an infinity either. Here are the ones we studied:
The most common, the least expensive.
There are a multitude of plastics, but only four main families are recyclable: PP (Polypropylene), PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) and LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene).
But be careful, an article published in the scientific journal Science Advances explains that since 2015, 6.9 billion tonnes of plastic waste have been produced worldwide; to date, approximately 9% has been recycled.
Finally, note that plastic is only recyclable 2 to 3 times in the best case... this is the main problem, it will always end up as waste!
What about bioplastics?
“Bio-sourced” or “biodegradable” plastics have appeared in recent years. But it is not yet a panacea. Biosourced materials are not infinitely recyclable and biodegradable materials degrade much less well in real conditions than in the laboratory...
For the record, we had considered a compostable and biodegradable plastic at the very beginning of our project. Unfortunately it melted during our aging test at 50°…
However, science is progressing, considerable sums are being invested to find THE bioplastic that will offer optimal biodegradability and/or infinite recycling, moreover there is a French nugget in which many hopes are based: Carbios
👍 Its advantages : weight, infinite possibility of shape, color, price, rather solid and resistant to shocks and no risk of breakage.
👎 Its disadvantages : from oil, not recyclable more than three times, a French sector which only recycles around 29% of the mass produced according to Citeo figures in 2020.
Glass has great advantages, it is very well known and often used in the cosmetic industry.
Its recycling circuit is well developed in France and it also has a good deposit circuit for reuse (like our parents' milk bottles).
Its design side and its capacity to be recycled infinitely attracted us at first, but the risk linked to use in the bathroom definitively ruled it out...
Here again science is evolving, unbreakable glasses are appearing (they are still a little heavy) and industries are working to find more optimal solutions.
It's definitely a material we're keeping our eye on for other products.
👍 Its advantages : premium appearance, made from materials very present in nature (sand, limestone, etc.), manufacturing process less polluting than those of other materials, wide variety of shapes and colors and good recycling channel (the best in France compared to other materials).
👎 Its disadvantages : rather heavy (this reduces its carbon footprint during transport), fragile (brittle) and its recycling requires almost as much energy as its primary production.
Stainless steel (or Inox)
The best of the best in our eyes.
We dreamed of it but its price and its origin (almost systematically from South-East Asia) have blocked us for the moment.
It has many qualities (see below) which make it a material of choice for premium water bottles for example.
Here, the dynamism of our young French companies leads us to be optimistic. For example, Zeste (which offers water bottles) is working to relocate the stainless steel industry in France. And there, frankly, we say bravo!
So we’re keeping an eye on him too 😊
👍 Its advantages : opaque (it therefore protects the container from light), naturally prevents exchanges between content and container, rigid, almost unbreakable and resists deformation shocks well.
👎 Its disadvantages : its price, its weight and its production area almost exclusively in South East Asia.
Aluminum is currently, in our opinion, the least bad material if we take into account all the criteria mentioned at the start of the article.
It is the most common metal on earth, it is light, difficult to break and offers a good barrier against light (opaque).
On the other hand, unlike stainless steel, it requires an interior varnish (which can be chosen without BPA, this is obviously our case) to block all container – content interactions.
In terms of recyclability, it’s a good student. It is 100% infinitely recyclable (so no loss of material during the recycling process) and the sector in France is correct - around 48% of aluminum packaging recycled in 2020 according to Citeo - but probably more for large containers which are the main recycled elements. It seems that this same sector has more difficulties with small containers (the famous Nespresso capsules for example).
Positive point: these rates are increasing every year.
👍 Its advantages : the most naturally occurring metal on earth, 100% infinitely recyclable, its recycling consumes 95% less energy than its manufacture, light, almost unbreakable, good protection against light and there are European manufacturers . And finally, but this is completely personal, it is beautiful!
👎 Its disadvantages : its manufacturing uses a polluting process, other techniques exist but are little used because they are too expensive... Its price makes it a "premium" material, although it is resistant to breakage it is sensitive to deformation following small shocks and it requires an interior varnish to make it impervious to exchanges between container – content.
In our opinion, aluminum is, to date, the best solution for transporting our liquid shampoos. But as repeated throughout our article, we are constantly monitoring because technologies are evolving and we will evolve with them!
Our goal: to offer the best containers for the best content 😊
And above all, let's not forget the adage: "the best waste is that which we do not produce"
That's it, you know everything 😊
As a bonus
You know it’s the “soft” refill, the sachet. If it reduces the quantity of plastic necessary for the same volume, it is very often constructed (for liquids) in multilayers (ie several layers of different materials). Consequence: it is not recyclable. The height of ecological recharging…
To date, we have noticed a brand that uses a single-layer PE Doypack. Well afterward, it’s still plastic and so… now you know the story!
She’s coming back and that’s so much the better! We were interested, but frankly, on our scale (still small 😉), the deposit would be a marketing joke...Indeed, the profitability of this operation is possible with a significant flow rate in a relatively limited geographical area. In short, impossible for us at the start, but who knows, perhaps the future will allow us to do so.