2009 Editors’ Choice Award Winner: Sustainable Packaging
Aveda Vintage Clove Shampoo
by The Estée Lauder Companies
At first glance, the grey plastic cap on Aveda’s Vintage Clove Shampoo bottle might not seem like anything extraordinary. However, the story behind the cap is. By starting its own caps-recycling program, Aveda was able to produce its first cap made entirely from pre- and postconsumer-recycled (PCR) polypropylene (PP) that the company collected.
Bottle caps make up a large percentage of pollution. Today in the United States, loose PP caps are currently not recycled because there isn’t a recycling program in place for them. When Aveda decided to create new caps from the old ones, it had to start its own recycling program.
Led by John Delfausse, vice president of global package development and chief environmental officer for Estée Lauder Corporate Packaging, Aveda started collecting PP caps right at home in its New York City offices. When the company needed more caps, it helped educate elementary school students about plastic pollution and enlisted their help to collect caps. Soon, army bases and Girl Scouts joined the cause, as did Aveda’s retail stores. Today, Aveda’s Web site tells customers how they can participate in the program.
Aveda hopes that local recyclers nationwide will adopt the process of recycling PP closures, creating a new stream of PCR material. “Recycled PP is valuable to the packaging industry,” says Dean Maune, executive director of Aveda Package Development. “If we can just get the material sorted, it has a much higher value as an injection-grade material.”
To create the Vintage Clove Shampoo dispensing closure, the collected caps were sent to consolidation sites to weed out nonrecyclable material. Next, the caps were shipped to recycler KW Plastics, where they were sorted, cleaned, and converted into plastic pellets. The pellets were sent to Seaquist Closures, which injection molded the new caps. “Seaquist was able to run the PCR PP material in its existing disc-top molds,” says Maune. “The 100%-PCR material actually ran better on the machinery than a 50/50 blend of PCR and virgin material. We even heard feedback about how the PCR material was helping to self-lubricate the molds.”
The bottle for Vintage Clove Shampoo is also a green achievement. It was made with a minimum of 96%-PCR high-density polyethylene from milk jugs—the highest percentage of recycled content so far attained for a colored beauty product bottle, says Aveda. TricorBraun supplied the bottle, with Matrix Packaging molding it and Technigraph decorating it.
CPC Packaging awards panelist Scott Widro, vice president of manufacturing and materials management for Chanel, calls Aveda’s efforts “commendable.” He also admires the quality of the closure itself: “The cap is very fluid and easy to use. It does not scuff easily as many flip-top caps do.”
“Again, Aveda leads the way for a better environment,” says awards panelist John Alongi, senior manager, packaging engineering, mark.
Panelist Gail Boyé, vice president, global product development, mark, says, “With this launch, they have developed not only a product but also a call to action with a 360-degree marketing approach.”
Dominique Conseil, president of Aveda, applauds Aveda’s team and its customers: “The achievement is a testament to the creativity and dedication of our packaging team and the thousands of Aveda guests around the country who participated in our caps-recycling program.”