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Packaging & design

SGD and Natura launch the first perfume bottle made of post-consumer glass in Brazil

The new container has 20% of its mass made from recycled material and helps reduce energy consumption and the use of virgin raw materials.

André Liberali, managing director of SGD Brasil

André Liberali, managing director of SGD Brasil

In February of this year, French glassmaker SGD presented the world market with a new version of its 2008 Infinite Glass container. Infinite Glass Neo is made of 90% recycled materials and meet the standards of transparency and brightness demanded by large international perfume and cosmetics brands, as well as contributing considerably to the reduction of the environmental impact resulting from its production.

Although the process of collecting and manufacturing post-consumer glass in Brazil is different from the European system, SGD’s Brazilian subsidiary decided to take on the challenge of producing a “made in Brazil” version of the container. To do so, the glassmaker linked up with a heavyweight partner: Natura, Brazil’s leading beauty brand, which is ranked in 23rd positiom among the world’s most sustainable companies.

André Liberali, managing director of SGD Brasil, said the partnership with Natura started in 2006. After more than eight years of studies and analysis, they arrived at a solution that met Natura’s strict quality standards, ranging from the composition of the glass to the appearance of the bottle. “To meet the requirements in the material collecting process, we looked for companies that operate in line with the SGD and Natura codes of conduct, do not employ child labor and use water in a rational way,” he says.

The biggest obstacle to the development of the project was the fact that, in contrast to most countries in Europe, the selective glass collection system operated in Brazil does not separate the bottles by color. “The glass used in this process can come from another perfume bottle, a drinks bottle or food jar, but it has to be transparent. This requirement ended up representing a large cost in the production chain as the company that collects bottles and jars is also responsible for separating them by color,” Liberali explains.

This pioneering process in the Brazilian industry relies on a consistent logistics system and brings an extra cost to the industry, but the benefits are invaluable. Natura says the incorporation of 20% of recycled post-consumer glass to the containers helps reduce energy consumption and the use of virgin raw materials. Around 472 tons of recycled glass were used in the first stage of the initiative, which prevented the disposal of material equivalent to 1.3 million 600ml bottles. Carbon dioxide emissions are foreseen to be cut by 357 tons a year.

As such projects become more mainstream and start being used by other glassmakers and fragrance companies, the signs are that they may turn into common practice, a move that will help bring down the prices,” says Sonia Grassi, commercial manager of SGD Brasil. Although both products focus on sustainability, SGD’s Infinite Glass Neo has become available to all clients whereas in Brazil, the process is an exclusive partnership with Natura. “The success of this initiative makes it natural for other companies to show interest and do the same. The role of the pioneer is to present the society with new ways of making daily life more sustainable,” says Grassi.

The use of recycled post-consumer material in containers is one of the targets of Natura’s new Sustainability Vision, released in December 2014. One of the company’s goals is to use 10% of recycled material in the total mass of its containers by 2020. Natura’s Humor, Kaiak, Essencial for men and Ekos Frescor fragrancies were selected to debut the new bottle and represent an advance from 1.2% to 2.6% in meeting the company’s target. The material is also expected to be introduced for other brands in the coming years.

Fernanda Bonifacio

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