Vrac, eco-design, recycling – all solutions are good for transforming the conventional end-of-life of our containers into more sustainable alternatives.
In recent years, phrases like “zero waste” and “eco-designed” have appeared on the labels of our products. Is it just a marketing strategy, or a genuine step forward?
Meanwhile, why not draw inspiration from the habits of previous generations and embrace solutions that have already proven effective?
Reuse as a solution?
There are no more excuses today for not considering reuse. This practice has been strongly promoted by the AGEC law, which sets numerical targets of 5% reuse deposit by 2023 and 10% by 2027. Reuse has already demonstrated its value in the food sector.
For example, the Drôme-based bottle washer, “Ma bouteille s’appelle reviens,” counts nearly 125 partners with around fifty collection points in the Drôme Ardèche region alone. Their partners, such as Alpes Consigne and Rebooteille, are also making significant contributions, with the latter having 152 collection points and collaborating with around forty producers.
Moreover, ecological benefits are the primary arguments put forward by advocates of reuse. In fact, by reusing glass, up to 75% of energy, 79% of greenhouse gas emissions, and 33% of water can be saved compared to recycling (2009 – Deroche Consultant). This ecological advantage encourages even the most reluctant individuals to take the leap.
While the food sector has seen a rise in reusable solutions, the cosmetics industry still has a long way to go.
Reuse in cosmetics: Where do we stand?
Reuse is a solution that many cosmetics brands are working on, each trying to engage consumers with their own proposals.
However, there is still a significant amount of work to be done in terms of analysis, logistics, and densification. This is the challenge that Cosmébio took on in 2021.
Under the impetus of several brands, the Cosmébio team was asked to explore reuse in the cosmetics industry.
The Cosm’N’pack project: Reusing cosmetics packaging from Cosmébio members
The road is long, filled with obstacles and costly. From initial refusals by washing centers to the disapproval of some brands skeptical of the project, Cosm’N’pack still managed to see the light of day. Funding from ADEME obtained in 2022 helped overcome one of the most significant barriers for the association: cost. Additionally, “Ma bouteille s’appelle reviens,” the Drôme-based bottle washer and neighbor of Cosmébio, agreed to venture into cosmetics.
As a result, around twenty brands affiliated with Cosmébio joined the first phase of the project.
In parallel, a representative steering committee was created to work on the subject and its challenges. Brands, washers, distributors, members of the Cosmébio team, and life cycle analysis experts discussed the most suitable solutions and the means available to frame the project.
It was decided that the first phase of experimentation would involve testing containers and contents representative of the cosmetics market: glass, toothpaste, shampoo. These tests aimed to mimic the normal life cycle of a product that would be reused. Washing, heat, cold, successive cycles, and analysis were planned and integrated into a specific washing protocol.
The initial results brought pleasant surprises regarding plastic and confirmed certain obstacles, such as shampoo foaming up and causing issues with the machines! This first step primarily laid the necessary foundation for the second phase and more in-depth tests to be conducted on that occasion.
Join us in our 67 partner stores!
Building on these initial results, Cosmébio decided to go further by simulating, on a regional scale (Auvergne Rhône Alpes), the reuse loop for cosmetics. This second phase of “real-size” experimentation brings together thirteen pioneering brands: Un battement d’aile, Karethic, Douce nature, Eau Thermale Jonzac, Douceur cerise, Centifolia, Coslys, Endro, Natessance, Distillerie Saint-Hilaire, Florame, La vie claire, and Aroma-Zone.
Two leading distributors in the organic cosmetics sector, Biocoop and La Vie Claire, are taking on the challenge of the Cosm’N’pack project in their stores. Over 30 stores from both chains in the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region have joined the project.
Additionally, around 36 independent stores approached by participating brands have also chosen to get involved. Aroma-Zone will also participate in their Lyon store!
In these 67 stores, you will find the “Bring me back to the store” logo with a QR code and project posters. The store teams have been very supportive, and the washers, Rebooteille and Ma bouteille s’appelle reviens, have provided valuable guidance to get this entire experimentation underway.
So, what are you waiting for? Bring your cosmetic containers back to the stores!
— An article written by Cosmébio —