Single-use packaging is out of fashion? After having thrown away and then recycled, the trend today is clearly to give a second life to our bottles. Refills and deposits are becoming an effective solution - both more ecological and more economical - to produce less waste. Of course, for the moment, this concerns mainly the retail brands, but also more and more the pharmacy, not to mention the brands dedicated to refill.
Why throw away a bottle when you can refill it? Sustainable and reusable products have become effective alternatives to ephemeral products. Refillable packaging is already well known in fine perfumery (after Caron and Mugler, Diptyque, Dior, Goutal, Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Valmont, 100bon, Nout…), which seems particularly relevant as it hurts the heart to throw away these sublime bottles (besides, many of us keep them!)… And if the make-up industry is starting to offer refillable packaging (Le Rouge Français, La Bouche Rouge…), it’s now up to the most common hygiene and care products (and therefore the largest volumes) to go refillable.
The deposit is back!
COZIE (Consommation Objectif Zéro Impact Environnemental) was one of the first companies to offer certified organic cosmetics in returnable containers. The company offers about fifteen references (hygiene and everyday care, from €10 to €34, the latest new product is the Nourishing Hair Mask, 100 ml, €24.50) in glass or aluminum containers, reusable and refillable, which can be found on the eshop or at the bulk distributors Day by day and L’Intendance.
You can buy the products in containers already filled or in the quantity of your choice thanks to the Dozeuse, a patented bulk machine, designed and produced in France. You can also buy online and continue the adventure in the store. The products are consigned on the principle of purchase for life.
In concrete terms, you buy your container once at €1.50 and at each next purchase €1.50 will be deducted automatically. You can return your returnable containers by downloading the free return form on your personal space. Certified as a social economy company (SSE), the brand works hand in hand with ESATs, in particular to disinfect and package its products.
According to the company, reusing its containers reduces carbon emissions by 79% compared to containers thrown away.
One more step towards zero waste for the brands
The Body Shop is also encouraging the circular economy by gradually introducing refill stations or “refill stations” in all its stores in France starting in April (47 French stores will have them by next October, 400 internationally by 2022).
The certified B Corp™ brand opts for a 300 ml refillable aluminum bottle (€2.50 to buy) and allows you to choose from 10 shower gels, shampoos, conditioners and liquid hand soaps (€7 per refill).
Once this bottle is empty, you rinse it, bring it back and refill it again. It’s as easy as pie! “By changing our habits, we could save more than 25 tons of plastic each year. This practice is good for the planet but also for the wallet. By switching to refillable bottles, our customers will be able to save more than 80 € per year,” the brand assures.
Because the best waste is the one we don’t produce, L’Occitane is also deploying its bulk “Fountains”, allowing customers to enjoy their favorite products while helping to reduce plastic waste. Eight stores will be equipped with them in France by June (Manosque, Ternes Paris, Lyon Herriot, Vincennes…), before considering them in Europe, Asia, US and Canada.
Today, L’Occitane Fountains offers bottling of five flagship products: Verbena Liquid Shower Gel, Almond Shower Oil, Verbena Shea Liquid Soap, as well as the Aromachologie shampoo and conditioner duo. Depending on the product and the size you want, you simply need to buy the Forever bottle, available in 250 ml and 500 ml, and refill it with your favorite product. Made from 100% recycled aluminum, durable, lightweight, and recyclable, each estagnon is dressed in the colors of its iconic ingredients.
When you make your first purchase, the empty bottle and its filling cost the same as the packaged product. The next time you buy a bottle, you only pay for the raw product, thus saving money. Operated by sales consultants trained in the requirements imposed, the fountains are calibrated to safely dispense the exact quantity of product selected. They are in line with the commitments made during the development of refillable formats (25 references to date).
The production and use of plastic in the world is now reaching its breaking point. In the last ten years, more plastic has been produced than in the last century. Concerned about the effects of this pollution on the environment, L’Occitane is committed to progressively eliminate useless or single-use plastics.
The pharmacy in test phase
54% of young families with babies say they are ready to buy hygiene and baby care products in bulk. Even if safety and hygiene remain points on which parents need to be reassured.
In order to respond to these concerns, Mustela® has chosen the pharmacy to propose an alternative offer of bulk cosmetic care products. Bulk, yes, but with the same guarantee of quality and safety as for already packaged products.
The brand offers them in bulk format the Certified Organic and Vegan Washing Gel (480 ml, €11.90), as well as a Hydro-Alcoholic Hand Gel (480 ml, 6,90 € + each time 3 € deposit for the glass bottle “Reviens” - Come back).
Once the product is finished, the bottle is returned and a new one is taken or the deposit is recovered. This experiment, which has been tested in two pharmacies in Paris and Angers, is currently being analyzed to validate the positive impact of this new product distribution method, before considering a larger-scale deployment.
A-Derma and Klorane have decided to give several lives to their most frequently used hygiene products at LAB, the Pierre Fabre concept store created in Toulouse a year ago. Six body and hair care formulas are now available: at Klorane, the Extra-Gentle Oatmeal Milk Shampoo, the Peony Soothing and Anti-Irritant Shampoo and the Water Mint Anti-Pollution Shampoo.
At A-Derma, the Surgras Shower Gel, the Hydra-Protective Shower Gel and the Emollient Washing Oil Exomega Control. The machine requires the use of a reusable and easily washable glass bottle. The system is 100% secure. The distance between the bottle neck and the filling valve of the machine has been reduced to a minimum to prevent any contamination of the formula during the filling phase carried out by a LAB expert. The filling valve closes automatically and without any residual drop, when the machine has delivered the expected quantity (300 ml).
This system guarantees perfect hygiene. We expected nothing less from the group that invented sterile cosmetics! The label issued by the machine at the end of each filling, allows to identify the chosen formula and contains a batch number allowing a traceability of the formula.
Empty bottles are offered with a deposit system in exchange for a symbolic euro. This 100% CSR approach is part of the green dynamic that Pierre Fabre’s Green Mission teams apply every day.
If the test proves successful, the operation will be offered to pharmacists in France and around the world.
This is obviously only the beginning. It is clear that in the coming years, bulk packaging will be considerably extended in beauty.