Sustainable Packaging Championing the Environment

Trends that are aiming to be “carbon-positive”

Susan Trumpbour

Thanks to the consumer-push, the beauty industry has taken a big leap forward in sustainable packaging. The beauty industry’s problematic environmental footprint has led sustainable packaging to become a very hot topic. According to WGSN, interest in sustainable packaging is growing, with 53% (and this number continues to increase) of consumers now actively seeking it out.  In the past few years, forward-thinking led the way for more eco-conscious packaging methods from refillable cartons to airless containers to dissolvable sheets to help reduce the impact on the planet.

While every effort to reduce waste should be applauded, there is still more to do.  Here are some new sustainable material packaging trends we see emerging.


Cutting edge, Shellworks core mission is to develop a material that could degrade, like a twig or a branch, in any natural environment. And they have done this!  Vivomer is made from brewing soil and marine microbiomes. Making plastic a thing of the past.


Not only is cork biodegradable, but it is also renewable and comes from bark, which is harvested every ten years and does not require cutting down trees during the process. Additionally, to produce cork, more trees have to be planted, meaning more C02 has to be absorbed from the atmosphere. LUSH is one example of using this regenerative material giving customer’s a worry-free choice to purchase.



How cool would it be to drop your packet onto the drain and watch it dissolve right before your eyes— one and done washing with zero guilt! Leaving no environmental trace behind, dissolvable packaging is on the rise and has the ability to move brands towards a zero-waste strategy. PLUS is on it and generating a buzz by creating products that does just this! Its product, Plus Body Wash, is just-add-water and bye-bye. Aquapack is another revolutionary product which is a see-through “leave no trace” plastic bag, that disappears before your eyes. It is 100% water-soluble, recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable.

PAPER (Cardboard included!)

Innovation in the paper category and its positive recycling positioning has given this material a new purpose. A big plus for paper is its confidence level with consumers. L’Oreal’s Paper Bottle concept and Aveda has reinvented its sampling packaging with beauty’s first paper-based recyclable sachet.


Keeping it simple is a great way to covey a clear message from both a product and sustainable POV. It shows a clean, no fuss understanding making it easier for consumers to ‘see’ the brand values and principles which go into the development of the product. Glossier is one great example of a brand-building on a minimalist design, adding clean lines plus fun, bold colors to capitalize on their good-for-the environment.

© Glossier


No longer new or niche, refillables are gaining in innovation and acceptance. Mainstreaming in popularity, these keep-forever products are investing in artistic design to make holding onto priceless and worth it!


Continuing to build a brand’s confidence in the consumer is essential.  Revealing packaging allows consumers to see what is inside and gives them a sneak peek at what they will get.  Consumers are tired of being misled and force brands to be more upfront than ever- it’s like raising the bar on packaging.  Also, being fully TRANSPARENT shows proof of their green efforts, and actually sharing where “the brand is right now and where it will be going” — a great way to win their trust.

There’re some really amazing revolutionary new materials emerging. It is a very exciting time in the packaging industry, nice storytelling to help promote these new sustainable materials that promise to perform positively for the planet!

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