Premium Beauty News – What is the philosophy behind Sulapac’s alternative materials?
Follow-up Haimi – We founded Sulapac in 2016 with the aim of fighting plastic pollution and fighting climate change. The idea was to develop materials with the advantages of plastics without the drawbacks.
Sulapac’s design philosophy is to imitate nature: to create a bio-based material that can replace conventional plastics but can be digested by natural microorganisms and break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass, without leaving a trace. …in the same way as a piece of wood.
Based on this philosophy, we have developed a series of materials based on wood and vegetable binders for applications in four market areas: straws, packaging for cosmetics, packaging for nutraceuticals (supplements) and cutlery ( forks and knives).
Premium Beauty News – What types of materials are available?
Follow-up Haimi – For cosmetics and supplements, we currently offer six grades with varying bio-based properties and content, including a barrier material for water-based emulsions.
For our first grades it was necessary to have specific moulds, which is why we have developed more universal solutions. Various aesthetics and colors are also available.
Premium Beauty News – But you can also develop tailor-made solutions, as you did for Chanel?
Follow-up Haimi – Indeed, our core business is to create and test new recipes according to customer needs.
Chanel needed a bespoke creation because they had very specific aesthetic criteria and wanted to add camellia seed shells to the material used to create their bio-based jar lids. We faced specific challenges due to the hydrophilic properties of camellia seed shells.
It took more than 40 tries before we could find the right material recipe. But it was fascinating to combine by-products like camellia seed shells and FSC-certified wood chips to create a unique premium packaging material. Now we are able to use unusual sub-streams as well without compromising the functionality of the final product. This helps us reduce the environmental footprint of packaging even further.
This achievement is the result of years of collaboration with Chanel’s innovation team, which also resulted in the creation of bio-sourced perfume stoppers for the “Les Eaux de Chanel” collection.
We tested various recipes for their aesthetic results but also for the result on the machines.
Premium Beauty News – Today, you also offer solutions for water-based formulas. What are the limitations of Sulapac materials?
Follow-up Haimi – The creation of a bio-barrier material for water-based formulations has been a great achievement which has expanded the range of products we can package with Sulapac materials. Tests have even shown better oxygen barrier properties with our material than with conventional plastics!
However, there are still limitations. To date, we do not have bottles or tubes, we are investigating these opportunities, but at the moment our solutions are focused on jars, lids and caps.
Premium Beauty News – What is your vision of the future of beauty packaging?
Follow-up Haimi – We now have robust solutions to tackle plastic pollution and climate change related to packaging.
As plastic production is expected to continue to grow globally, we offer the opportunity to maximize the use of plant-based and recycled biopolymers that have the same benefits as conventional plastics without their drawbacks.
We aim to change the entire packaging industry in the future with the aim of solving the problems posed by conventional plastic! Our solution differs from other bioplastics such as PLA, because our material fully biodegrades in nature and not only under industrial composting conditions. Additionally, we do not use any harmful or toxic additives often used with bioplastics. We are very strict in using materials that mimic natural substances.
Our material is recyclable, mechanically and chemically, in the same streams as other bio-polymers. However, while the technology is available, the infrastructure is lacking in most countries. We believe that the development of chemical recycling in the world will improve the situation. Additionally, unlike other plastics, should our material leak in nature, it will slowly degrade into nothing but carbon dioxide, biomass, and water, and will never create a charge. toxic or permanent microplastics.
We are currently building a consortium in Finland, in partnership with recycling infrastructures, to create a loop accepting our material that can be effectively recycled.
We believe we have the potential to change the packaging industry and the different sectors where plastics are used! We are still a small player and need to grow to build a reputation in the market and reach the critical mass to participate in global launches. Global brands such as Chanel are leading the way and helping us to change things.