A new wave of sustainable packaging for SA’s cosmetics industry

The move to sustainable packaging will be revolutionary for the South African cosmetics industry, but it won’t happen overnight. Teqal is ready to start premium face care brands on this journey with the first biodegradable packaging developed and produced locally.

According to international reports, almost 300 million tons of plastic are being produced worldwide, every year. While a lot of this plastic is necessary to make useful things that last, all too often, the plastic we use ends up in the wrong places – in oceans and landfill sites.

Although a major global movement, sustainable packaging has continued
to be out of reach of the South African cosmetics industry. Before now, the research, development and commercialisation of environmentally- responsible packaging for cosmetics occurred internationally, resulting in expensive packaging that just wasn’t right for the local market. This is why the launch of the biodegradable Reflections jar by Teqal Creative Packaging (Teqal) marks the start of something truly exciting for local beauty and skin care brands, particularly those that are quality-driven and which have a genuine commitment to sustainability.

Based in KwaZulu-Natal, Teqal produces quality packaging for the cosmetics, personal care and industrial markets. Its manufacturing plant is situated at the Dube TradePort, adjacent to King Shaka International Airport, and houses some of the most energy- and production-efficient servo-driven packaging machinery available worldwide.

Teqal’s strengths include the strategic registration of functional and technical designs and patents, along with in-house high-end packaging, tool-making and design experience – all of which are vital in generating value in the personal care and cosmetics industry.

A first for South Africa

Teqal’s biodegradable Reflections jar, which is a first for South Africa, is 70% biodegradable and 100% recyclable.

Sean Kirkham, sales and marketing director of Teqal, explains: “We’ve launched this as a stepping stone into the future of sustainability for the South African cosmetics industry. The external components of the jar are biodegradable, while all the critical jar components are produced using HDPE. Our approach is strategic, mainly because the critical jar components that house the actual product are already stability tested for creams.

So a brand that’s already packaging a face care product in HDPE could comfortably move it to the new 70% biodegradable jar without any risk. Furthermore, a beautiful high-quality print is achievable on these jars which does not affect their biodegradability.”

Kirkham says the bio-based material used to produce the external components is Seedling-certified. This is an independent third-party certification that verifies the compostability of a product in an industrial composting plant, according to the European standard EN 13432. If these components end up in the ocean, landfill, or are placed in soil, they will fully biodegrade and will not leave any microplastics behind.

Biodegradation refers to a biological process where naturally occurring micro-organisms digest material into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. Biodegradable polymers, like the one used for Teqal’s biodegradable Reflections jar, can be either bio-based or fossil-based. In this case, the biodegradable polymer is plant-based and sustainably-sourced from industrial wood applications, using sustainable forestry.

A perfect place to start

The biodegradable Reflections jar is a promising solution for premium face care brands to start their sustainability journey.

“The next step is to introduce 100% biodegradable packaging by moulding the internal components in the biodegradable polymer. This would have to be done in conjunction with a brand that is fully invested in the end goal, as stability- and compatibility-testing are crucial to ensure their product’s success in the market when packaged in a fully biodegradable jar,” says Kirkham.

“We understand that sustainability is a journey, which is why Teqal wants to be part of the solution to ensure that local brands focused on enhancing their environmental narrative have access to quality resources to reach their sustainability destination.”

Sean Kirkham, sales and marketing director of Teqal

As an owner-managed business with people who care about the planet, Teqal is always looking at ways to minimise any impact its operations might have on the environment. From investing in solar panels to energy-efficient servo-driven equipment, the company will continue to embrace sustainability for a flourishing and eco-friendlier cosmetics industry in South Africa.

Editor of P&C Review | P&C Africa



Digital issue View Archive

Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Review July 2020

The July issue of Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Review features the first locally made biodegradable packaging for the South African cosmetics industry. We also explore safe and responsible sun protection in our bumper sun care feature and in the pharma focus on CAMs and health supplements, we check out the latest developments to emerge from the recent down-scheduling of CBD by SAHPRA. And with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to wear masks, eye makeup trends are in the spotlight in our colour cosmetics feature.

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