Why The Body Shop is making packaging out of greenhouse gases

The beauty brand will be taking carbon dioxide and methane out of the air and using it to make “sustainable” packaging.

Bodyshop. Forum Des Halles. Paris.
Bodyshop. Forum Des Halles. Paris.

The Body Shop hopes to help tackle pollution and global warming with new packaging that will be unveiled this year.

The beauty store chain will be releasing product packaging made out of pollutant gases, instead of more commonly used oil-based plastics. It says it aims to “take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere” while “keeping oil in the ground”.

Cut back on oil-based plastics

The Body Shop describes itself as a global beauty brand that aims to “make a positive difference in the world” by providing “natural, high quality” products that are produced ethically and sustainably.

The new packaging is part of a global initiative from The Body Shop to ensure that 70% of its product packaging will not contain plastics made from oil by 2020.

Uses pollutant gases from the air

The brand has partnered with technology company Newlight Technologies to achieve this aim, which will be responsible for converting gases such as methane and carbon dioxide into AirCarbon.

AirCarbon is a thermoplastic, which “behaves the same as the plastics we are used to seeing in our packaging”, says The Body Shop.

The process captures greenhouse gas emissions, isolates them with air, then polymerises them to produce AirCarbon.

Wants to “reduce impact on the planet”

Newlight, which has been researching this method of plastic production for 10 years, says the resulting material can “match the performance of oil-based plastics and out-compete the price”.

Christopher David, international director of corporate social responsibility at the Body Shop International, says: “We want to take action to reduce our impact on the planet, radically reinterpreting the way we sell and buy cosmetics and how our customers use them.”

The Body Shop claims it is the first company within the beauty industry to commercialise the use of AirCarbon.

The new packaging is part of its “Protect the Planet” goal, which also includes schemes such as using LED lighting in stores to reduce electricity use, minimising water usage, recycling packaging and creating wildlife areas such as beehives and allotments at corporate sites.

The company hopes to roll out the new packaging across products by the end of 2016. It has not yet confirmed which products will be taking on the new packaging first.

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