LVMH Beauty is bringing bio-based and circular packaging to Guerlain perfumes in a new partnership with Dow.
By the end of the year, LVMH says its perfume and cosmetics divisions will be using sustainable packaging in a partnership with materials science leader, Dow. The collaboration will bring both bio-based and circular plastics into the luxury label’s offerings.
“At LVMH, with our Life 360 program, we made the decision that our packaging will contain zero plastic from virgin fossil resources in a near future. Collaborating with Dow in developing sustainable Surlyn is key as this material is used in some of our iconic perfumes, starting with Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire. It is helping LVMH achieve our sustainability targets without any compromise on quality”, Claude Martinez, Executive President and Managing Director of LVMH Beauty, said in a statement.
Creating a circular economy
“Creating a circular economy takes every player in the value chain to commit to ambitious goals and challenge the status quo. Dow looks forward to supporting the sustainability journey of a leading global luxury brand,” said Karen S. Carter, President of Packaging & Specialty Plastics, Dow.
The bio-based Surlyn is made with bio-based feedstocks including used cooking oil. According to Dow, only waste residues or byproducts from alternative production processes are used, meaning the feedstocks don’t consume extra land resources or compete with the food chain.
Dow also makes a circular Surlyn that relies on hard-to-recycle mixed plastic waste. Dow says its advanced recycling technologies break down waste plastic into basic chemical elements that are equivalent to those made from virgin feedstock.
Dow, long a leader in petrochemical products, launched its sustainable version of its popular Suryln in 2021. Surlyn is Dow’s branded ionomer resin — a copolymer of ethylene and methacrylic acid used as a coating and packaging.
“Surlyn is a material that has brought freedom to designers of the beauty world for many years”, Shouhaib Mohamed, EMEA Marketing Manager for Cosmetic at Dow, said in 2021. “In contrast, few people know that this material is compatible with HDPE recycling streams,” he added.
“In the short term, if we want to achieve scalable volumes and the same quality as virgin resin, then we also need to work on another solution, called advanced recycling,” Mohamed said. This technology works alongside mechanical recycling and allows mixed-waste plastics to be broken down into their original state for reuse as if they were virgin polymers.
Plastic alternatives are important, says Mark Langenhof, Business Development & Application Engineer within the Morssinkhof-Rymoplast group. “Fourteen percent of plastic packaging is collected these days, and only two percent is recycled back into its original application,” he said.
Another complication is microplastics — particles too small to be captured in most municipal recycling facilities. These tiny particles wind up in oceans and freshwater systems, poisoning wildlife and disrupting the water’s pH, leading to ocean acidification. This accelerates climate change by making the oceans less capable of absorbing CO2.
LVMH sustainability commitments
The announcement is the latest shift toward sustainable packaging for the world’s largest luxury giant.
Last April, LVMH Beauty entered into a multi-year partnership with Origin Materials to develop low-carbon footprint packaging. Origin makes a PET plastic from sustainable wood residues and performs similarly to petroleum-based PET, including recyclability.
In November, LVMH joined King Charles’ Circular Bioeconomy Alliance. “LVMH has committed to making the protection of biodiversity and fighting climate change an absolute priority, and to being an exemplary actor of change,” Hélène Valade, LVMH Environmental Development Director, said in a statement.
“LVMH has set the target to implement regenerative agriculture in all strategic supply chains and to preserve 5 million of hectares by 2030,” she said. “Already supporting regenerative cotton production in Turkey, LVMH is proud to support its new project in Chad to preserve local biodiversity, fight climate change and desertification.”
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