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A bottle made of carbon emissions? L’Oréal & partners embark on “world-first”

Alissa Demorest
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A bottle made of carbon emissions? L’Oréal & partners embark on “world-first”

A collaboration between L’Oréal, carbon recycler LanzaTech and energy giant Total, the project aims to “make single-use carbon a thing of the past”. L’Oréal aims to launch a first packaging application by 2024.

A first step in what could well be a small revolution in the beauty space, L’Oréal has announced that along with LanzaTech and Total, it is launching a technology capable of producing a cosmetics bottle made of captured and recycled carbon emissions.

Jacques Playe, newly appointed Global Head of Packaging and Product Development at the French beauty group tells Luxe Packaging Insight that in the pilot phase, the emissions will come from a steel mill in China, and its industrialization phase, the project would “probably be implemented in France or Belgium”. 

To create the raw material, LanzaTech, a specialist in gas fermentation, converts the industrial carbon emissions into ethanol after which Total applies a dehydration process to transform it into ethylene, which is then polymerized into polyethylene. The partners claim that the resulting material has the selfsame properties as virgin polyethylene. “The major difference with this technology is that we aren’t starting out with existing plastic and recycling it, but from carbon emissions, which is a great benefit in the context of the circular economy. It will provide a totally virgin material of very high quality,” affirms Playe.

When asked about the cost differential for this new technology, Playe says that while it is still too early to give exact figures, the solution will likely be more costly than producing conventional plastic. “This being said, we remain convinced that this is an essential innovation and that all technological advances geared at reducing the environmental impact of our packaging must be accelerated.” The exclusive technology will also be available to other companies looking to cut down on the environmental impact of their packaging.

L’Oréal aims to industrialize the technology by 2024, particularly for shampoos or products such as body creams. As to future applications throughout the group, “all of our Divisions will be involved in this project to replace our plastic bottles,” notes the spokesperson. “Our goal is to reach 100% recycled or bio-sourced plastic by 2030, and this breakthrough is one of the paths to reach this goal, but not the only one,” concludes Playe.

 

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