Libby White asks Clark Ensminger, Market Development Manager, Cosmetic Packaging, Eastman Chemical Company, how its ecodesign collaboration with Groupe Rocher has led to the creation of a more sustainable compact case.

Many packaging solutions claim to be sustainable, eco-friendly and recyclable. However, how important is it to focus on the entire product life cycle of a solution, and why have you taken this approach in collaboration with Groupe Rocher?

Indeed, there are many facets to sustainable packaging, and without looking at the entire loop, we are not being good stewards of the environment. While the bio-content beginning-of-life story for Eastman Trēva™ engineering bioplastic is a strong one, we also wanted to enable product design that would ensure greater longevity with a case that could be used with multiple cosmetics inserts over time. Trēva’s overmolding capability also made it possible to produce an entire case out of a single material, enabling more efficient handling at end-of-life.

Can you please tell me about the development process of the "ecodesign compact case" and the importance of involving all members of the value chain?

Ultimately, successful cosmetics packaging design requires the input from multiple players in the supply chain. Our varying expertise and frame of reference make collaboration absolutely key. In this case, Groupe Rocher’s product design would not be possible without the unique properties afforded by Trēva (namely high flow and overmolding capability at the hinge without fusing). For Eastman, working closely with a respected brand like Groupe Rocher gave us an opportunity to showcase our material in a way that directly addresses a market need.

Can you also tell me more about your new Trēva material? How does it reduce environmental impact?

Trēva is a cellulose-based plastic made from greater than 40 per cent bio-content (trees). This bio-content is sourced from sustainably managed forests in the southeastern United States. In North America, reforestation efforts coupled with favourable growing conditions make trees an ideal bio-source. Once trees are harvested, conditions in North America are such that new trees (which produce more oxygen) grow at a very high rate. This makes Trēva uniquely sustainable while also not taking away from any food source (like corn or sugar).


Clark Ensminger, Market Development Manager, Cosmetic Packaging, Eastman

How does this material compare to the conventional use of metal with regards to durability and functionality?

For many plastic compact cases, a metal rod is required in the hinge mechanism to make opening and closing possible. Unlike other plastics, Trēva does not fuse when overmolded. For a hinge application, this means in a single process, Trēva can be injection molded over an existing hinge mechanism and remain free to move. This in turn enables the opening and closing of a case without a metal hinge and instead with plastic over plastic.

Do you think the cosmetics sector pushes sustainability in packaging as prominently as other sectors, such as food?

We are proud to participate in an industry that takes sustainability seriously. When we engage with global cosmetics brands, we are pleased to see this drive match what we see in the food sector.

How important is it to innovate and 'think outside the box' when it comes to packaging design? Do you think there are conventional ways of packaging development that could be easily changed with significant outcomes?

The world is ever changing, and novel solutions to address ever-evolving problems is a must. It is critical to think outside the box when tasked with providing beautiful packaging that does not compromise the health of our environment. Even luxury brands are buying into the notion that smart, elegant design trumps more packaging.

Additionally, advances in material science (like Trēva) are bringing options to designers that no longer require compromise on performance or aesthetics. Continuing to invest in cutting-edge materials that also have a sustainability profile will be a key to success moving forward.