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The cosmetics sector is relying on the innovation offered by the packaging industry to respond to consumer demands for safety and convenience and to adapt to a new regulatory framework in which sustainability is the keynote of the main transformations. Hispack brought together several representatives of cosmetic companies to discuss the most immediate challenges. Here are their views.


Maica García – moderator

Director | News Packaging

Marcia Bardauil

Senior Market Insights Lead | Quadpack

Francesc Morata

Creative Director | Noreste Studio

Edgar Lendinez

Head of innovation, industrialisation and purchasing of primary packaging. Medical Devices Technical Manager | MartiDerm

Xavier Garcia

Packaging Innovation Manager| Montibello

Concha Bosch

Project Manager Packaging Technologies | AINIA

Joaquim Cons

Product Stewardship & Eco-Design Manager | Puig

The present: legislation


Concha Bosch – AINIA

The law is setting the pace for all the changes since the EU plastics strategy was published in 2018, setting targets for 2030, to everything that has been happening with the waste act.

Packaging manufacturing companies are involved in this transformation, but users have the added concern of offering solutions that comply with the law. There is a strong focus on PET because there are post-consumer recycling processes specifically approved for this material and there is an evolution towards other types of materials that can be adapted to the new regulations. For example, there is a lot of cellulose-based packaging and alternative materials to plastic, but they aren’t suitable for everything. Plastic is not going to disappear, it has characteristics that make it indispensable in some cases, but it is true that work is being done on alternative materials such as cellulose, wood, bioplastics and other forms such as reuse. In this regard, it should not be forgotten that reusable packaging should be designed to be recyclable as well, in the end it should be reusable. In short, we must respond to a law that I believe demands too much in too little time.

Recycled PET already exists in consumer products, but as demand increases, more and more needs to be produced, and the same is true for bioplastics. If production capacity does not guarantee sufficient supply for the companies’ production, it is pointless. The law aims to improve sustainability, but we have to see if it can be implemented in the timeframe we are being given, and this is where the whole value chain comes in and it seems that the focus is only being placed on one part and not on all the companies involved.

Joaquim Cons – Puig

In the end, the law is an accelerator, it is the companies that have the responsibility to speed up these processes, and we also have to put pressure on suppliers to bring out these products.

In the case of the beauty and cosmetics sector, we are a much smaller industry than food—food generates more waste—and we have no alternatives. The industry that speeds up the recycling process must help us to make all materials recyclable.

The law is all very well, but in my view it is a warning to us to get our act together even more.

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Left to right:: Marcia Bardauil, Senior Market Insights Lead, Quadpack; Francesc Morata Jorba, Creative Director, Noreste Studio and Edgar Lendínez Martí, Head of innovation, industrialisation and purchasing of primary packaging. Medical Devices Technical Manager, MartiDerm.

The present of recycling: Are we recycling well?

Concha Bosch – AINIA

Some materials are recycled well. European regulations tell us that by 2030, 100% of plastic packaging will have to be reusable or recycled in a cost-effective way. In a cost-effective way is an important point, because it also requires effort on the part of recyclers and they must try to give us a solution to see how we sort these materials from the cosmetics sector. For example, some recyclers do not want polyamide, a highly stigmatised material in the food sector, although studies have shown that it is not a problem to put in a percentage of polyamide.

The law is there to exert pressure and ensure that this pressure is passed on to other parts of the sector that are part of the value chain.

Joaquim Cons – Puig

In our case, out of the 150 countries in which we are present, the laws go at different paces and so does the awareness of each country. We must do our utmost; we are very advanced in Europe in terms of awareness.

We need to make European regulations homogenise messages in a way that minimises differences between countries.

The future: materials

Marcia Bardauil – Quadpack

At Quadpack we have a department in charge of analysing new materials.

There have been different developments in biomaterials. In our case, we manufacture wooden packaging and for the first time we were able to machine wood, thus dispensing with plastic. We also work with cork, which is a material that is sourced in Europe. We also take the movement of the product and material very much into account, so that the packaging has a positive impact on the environment throughout the entire cycle, what we internally call PIP rating (Positive Impact Packaging), and for this we analyse 100% of our catalogue to ensure that it complies with the sustainability parameters that we set. Another material is sulapac, a combination of wood and other ingredients.

We will not be able to do without plastic because it has benefits that other materials do not have, and it will coexist with other materials. Plastic does not have to be negative, the important thing is that it is recyclable.

Francesc Morata – Noreste Studio

Sometimes the problem is that not all materials are equally suitable.

Problems can arise in two ways:

  1. The production time is very long and the customer needs the packaging sooner.
  2. When looking for recycled paper, not all of them are suitable, you have to take into account the fibres, the grammage and the weight. The truth is that there are more and more recycled and printable papers, but not all of them are suitable for everything. And indeed, it is also important to bear in mind that reusable plastic can be more sustainable than aluminium.

Edgar Lendinez – MartiDerm

One of the problems we have is that these materials are actually recycled, especially with cosmetic packaging in plants. We think of more sustainable solutions but the wheel works for some things and not for others. For example, if a label on a package cannot be peeled off, it cannot be recycled, and these problems have to be taken into account.

Xavier Garcia – Montibello

We are testing new materials, such as rPET bottles, but we prioritise eco-design at the start of every project. It should also be borne in mind that professional cosmetic formulations are very demanding, and that new material approvals and compatibility tests are necessary when developing a project.

In our case, aluminium is one of the most widely used materials because our star product is coloured dyes. Along these lines, any change in grammage or aluminium through eco-design can have a direct impact on sustainability. For example, on a 50 g retail jar, a new lid was designed with 5 mm less height, so we sacrificed the premium perception of that jar, but reducing weight contributed to sustainability.

Small decisions can make a big impact on sustainability without having to research new materials. Sometimes the packaging is more sustainable, but the consumer does not perceive it, which is something that also needs to be communicated. And another of our responsibilities is to educate and inform this consumer.

Joaquim Cons – Puig

At Puig we have launched projects in refill, we are going to reduce volume, plastic, glass and metal. Do end-consumers go for these systems? Do they perceive it as useful? Are we buying refills for shower gels because the price is similar? We have reduced plastic and material and the consumer does not perceive the added value? We are the driving force to get this situation back on track, but the consumer has to make a change of habits for refill to go ahead otherwise it won’t.

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Left to right: Xavier García Martínez, Packaging Innovation Manager, Montibello; Concha Bosch Navarro, Project Manager Packaging Technologies, AINIA and Joaquim Cons Garcia, Product Stewardship & Eco-Design Manager, Puig.

The future through innovation

Edgar Lendinez – MartiDerm

In R&D, medium-sized companies must do what they can, adapt quickly and be flexible and dynamic, while large companies will be trendsetters.

Xavier Garcia – Montibello

Innovation is already everywhere. There are niche companies that, in terms of concept, formulation or packaging, have very good ideas precisely because they do not have the resources to sell a product in a novel way.

Concha Bosch – AINIA

There are many ways to innovate: disruptive innovation may require more muscle; start-ups already have the concept of innovation in their DNA and the rest also have the potential to innovate, they do not have the network large companies do, but they have the desire to do so and ask us for help. In order to innovate, you often need to feed yourself with knowledge and we, as a technology centre, have that knowledge, and we offer it to you, as for example we have done on several occasions with microencapsulation. They don’t have the means, but they ask questions and take an interest, and all kinds of companies do this. There is a lot of willingness to innovate and young people are naturally restless when you bring new people into the teams.

Joaquim Cons – Puig

The size of the company does not have to be an excuse for being innovative or not. It is an issue related to people and teams, that you have the interest to transform things, those people are the ones that act as the internal driver to innovate. The important thing is to have a good idea, because sometimes people talk about innovation to follow a trend.

In a sentence: What will packaging look like in the future?


Joaquim Cons – Puig

It will be more responsible and confident; it will talk to us and explain much more.

Concha Bosch – AINIA

The demand for greater sustainability will be reflected and will bring new technologies and greater personalisation.

Edgar Lendinez – MartiDerm

Responsible, thoughtful and developed in a smart way.

Xavier Garcia – Montibello

Better and more sustainable.

Francesc Morata – Noreste Studio

Recyclable, reusable and leaving no trace.

Marcia Bardauil – Quadpack

Every day closer to the end consumer to make life easier for them.


Cristina Benavides, Hispack partner