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Amorepacific’s Sustainability Management SVP Oh Jeong-hwa talks packaging & plastics reduction

Katie Nichol

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Amorepacific’s Sustainability Management SVP Oh Jeong-hwa talks packaging & plastics reduction

Amorepacific has big plans to reduce its reliance on plastics. Oh Jeong-hwa, Senior Vice President of the South Korean beauty group’s Sustainability Management division, tells Luxe Packaging Insight how the cosmetics player is working to achieve this.

Amorepacific aims to reduce its use of plastic by up to 700 tons by 2022. What are you putting into place to reach this goal?

With our partner packaging company, we are expanding our use of technology that produces lighter packaging materials by using less plastic for the same product. This is expected to reduce about 20% of the plastics we use in our primary packaging. We are looking to minimize the materials we use for secondary packaging for cosmetic sets, and use eco-friendly materials over plastics wherever possible.

Refillable packaging is another area of focus. While we previously only used refillable packs for cushion compacts and a few other makeup items, we are now working to expand the format for products at Sulwhasoo and HERA among other skincare brands.

‘Reduce’, ‘Recycle’ and ‘Renewable’ are the guiding principles for our sustainable packaging initiatives. In addition to reducing the weight of plastics in our packaging, the inserts within the gift sets are being replaced with a new, entirely paper form.

We are also improving the recyclability of our plastic bottles. We have adopted colorless clear plastic bottles, shrink film designed to stay in place without adhesives and mono-material plastic packaging to facilitate recycling. We also use recycled plastics in our packaging.

Are bioplastics a focus?

Right now, our focus is on PCR plastic. We plan to increase its use through Green Cycle, our in-store cosmetics bottle collection program. In addition, we'll continue our study of compostable materials and their application for product packaging.

While Amorepacific is increasing its use of plastics from renewable natural resources, such as those derived from corn and sugarcane, we think that PCR plastic is a more fundamental solution in that it can be recycled repeatedly, so it is a 'circular' material.

In addition to plastics, the group is also moving to use more eco-friendly paper, such as FSC certified grades, and paper made from by-product fibers for use in packaging, shopping bags, gift wrapping and void-fill in boxes.

What are some sustainable initiatives across your brand portfolio?

Our bodycare brand HAPPY BATH brought out a new plastic bottle for 10 products that is 19% lighter and resulted in the reduction of 11 tons of plastic. In terms of recycled plastics, the Innisfree’s Forest For Men Hair Wax container uses 30% recycled plastics, and the Olive Real Body Lotion and Cleanser bottles use 100% PCR PET. Other brands including primera, Mamonde and Hanyul are also using recycled plastics.

And in terms of bioplastics, HAPPY BATH is using a container with 26.5% bioplastic content for a total 53 products, mostly body washes. Mise-en-scene, Ryo, primera and Illiyoon are also using bioplastics in their primary packs.

The group is also looking to retail: our Amore Seongsu store uses sticks made of rice and tapioca as an alternative for product sampling. 

You signed a partnership with TerraCycle in 2019. What was the goal there?

The group aims to collect 100 tons of used plastic cosmetics bottles each year to reach a 100% recycle rate. As of today, we have collected 87 tons; some are recycled to make other packaging as well as the plastic inserts inside gift boxes.

Our next step will be increasing the rate of recycling plastics for our product packaging, furnishings and props (visual merchandising displays, beauty tools for testing etc) from 10% in the first year to 50% by 2025.

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