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L’Oréal’s Biotherm to debut “infinitely recyclable” plastic bottle

Katie Nichol
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L’Oréal’s Biotherm to debut “infinitely recyclable” plastic bottle

Biotherm will be the first L’Oréal brand to launch a cosmetics bottle made entirely from plastic recycled via Carbios’ enzymatic technology – in 2025. At a virtual event last week, the brand highlighted several sustainable design initiatives and revealed plans for a “transversal restage” of its packaging.

L’Oréal has unveiled what it says is the first cosmetics bottle produced using plastic recycled via green chemistry company Carbios’ enzymatic recycling technology. The bottle, launching under L’Oréal’s Biotherm brand, will not hit the market until 2025.

“This is a major milestone in the scalability of the use of food-grade PET plastic,” Biotherm Global Brand President Giulio Bergamaschi said at Biotherm Blue Beauty, a virtual event last week. “In a world-first for the beauty industry, we are introducing a recycled plastic bottle that is endlessly recyclable. It’s a true step forward that goes beyond recyclability towards circular economy.”

Carbios’ process uses proprietary enzymes to break down and rebuild plastics. “Mechanical recycling, while good, is not a solution for end of life as it only allows plastic to be recycled three or four times,” Carbios Deputy CEO Martin Stephan explained. ”With enzymatic recycling, plastic can be recycled indefinitely.” This coming September, Carbios is starting up a demonstration plant, with a large-scale factory planned for 2025.

Biotherm banks on sustainable design

Biotherm highlighted a number of initiatives in the sustainable packaging arena. Earlier this year it introduced a cardboard-based tube within its suncare portfolio, and switched to 100% PCR PE plastic for its best-selling body lotion. As for the brand’s latest launch, Cera Repair Barrier Cream, the jar is made with 40% recycled glass and the lid with up to 100% recycled plastic. The recyclable outer pack features a QR code linking to traceability and transparency information. And this February, Biotherm unveiled what it says is the first refill product experience in luxury skincare.

It is also planning a “transversal restage” of its entire packaging portfolio in the next couple of years. Described as “a huge step in the brand’s Blue Beauty journey”, the revamp involves a new packaging identity inspired by the ocean. Biotherm says it wants to use recycled plastic as much as possible, and will also roll out “augmented products” featuring QR codes on the pack.

Biotherm is aiming for 97.8% of its PET bottles and 84% of PE bottles to switch to recycled flacons by the end of 2021. By 2025, its goal is to achieve 100% fossil-free packaging across the brand portfolio.

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