Questions about packaging

 

What packaging and materials that come into contact with the products are used for Dr. Hauschka Skin Care?

For our Dr. Hauschka skin care products we mainly use glass as the packaging material, followed by plastics and aluminium. For our make-up products we use plastics. Unfortunately, there is no perfect packaging to cover all requirements. For this reason, we carry out extremely thorough tests on every new product in the development phase to see whether tubes, bottles or jars are the most suitable. We scrutinise, analyse and weigh everything up down to the last detail before making a decision. We always prioritise the selection of packaging based on the same aspects: product protection, material savings, recyclability and proportion of recycled materials. We also take into account our customers’ user habits and the ability to fully empty the product containers.

Why does Dr. Hauschka place product protection in first place when selecting packaging?

For our Dr. Hauschka Skin Care recipes we use a great deal of natural resources. We invest highly worldwide in the organic and Demeter farming of our raw materials and the manufacturing of our products. LCA screening (life-cycle analysis) of our Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream, packed in an aluminium tube, showed that the packaging had a considerably lower impact on the environment than the raw materials in our skin care products. For us this means that the valuable contents must not be able to perish too soon due to unsuitable packaging and end up in the waste disposal. Add to this the fact that our 100% genuine natural cosmetics do not contain any synthetic preservatives. For us, therefore, maintaining the shelf life and freshness of the product is the most important role of the packaging. So for us product protection also means protecting resources.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of glass as a packaging material?

Benefits:

  • Glass acts neutrally upon the contents, it does not release or absorb anything and the qualities of the preparation remain unchanged.
  • Glass bottles are particularly suitable for storing liquid formulations. We ensure that the liquid is extracted from the bottle hygienically and in a user-friendly manner with pumps, atomisers or pipettes.

  • Glass has very high recycling quotas as it is a so-called permanent material, meaning that it can be infinitely recycled without losing its qualities.

Drawbacks:

  • White glass lets the light through and so is not suitable for light-sensitive preparations. The possible applications of glass in terms of packaging are extremely limited due to the other characteristics of the material (easily breakable, heavy and rigid), so for us, for example, the use of glass in the shower is completely out of the question for safety reasons.

  • More solid preparations such as creams can only be taken from jars. Because our natural cosmetics do not contain any synthetic preservatives, for our recipes containing water, such as our Day Cream, we cannot use jars, even if they are made of glass. Due to the water content, the large area of contact with the surrounding air and the application method, e.g. using a finger, there is a risk of potential microbial contamination. For sustainability reasons we cannot allow this (more on the importance of product protection in section 2).

  • Manufacturing glass is very energy intensive and due to its heavy weight requires more energy for transport than, for example, lighter plastic packaging.

 

What are the benefits and drawbacks of aluminium as a packaging material?

Benefits:

  • Particularly for our recipes that contain water and so are more sensitive, the aluminium tube is the preferred packaging as it provides the best product protection. This material has very good barrier qualities and reliably protects the formulation from UV rays, water vapours and oxygen.

    Due to its malleable nature the aluminium tube also prevents impurities or micro-organisms in the air from getting into the product when the cream is removed from the tube. As we do not use any synthetic preservatives in our Dr. Hauschka products, product protection is our greatest priority (more on the importance of product protection in section 2).

    Aluminium enables us to guarantee a proportionately long shelf life, even once the product has been opened.
  • Furthermore, the aluminium tube can be almost fully emptied, even in the case of highly viscous products like our creams or masks.
  • Aluminium is what is referred to as a permanent material, which can be recycled time and again without losing its qualities. This means that a large proportion of the aluminium that has already been extracted is still in the recycling cycle and is used, for example, in the building trade in the form of window frames or in the car industry.

  • The aluminium tube used for Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products does not cause any health concerns as it has a non-hazardous protective coating inside it. This means that there is no contact between the contents and the aluminium packaging. The tube complies with the German Food and Feed Code and is also used for food packaging. Even when the tube is squeezed or subjected to any other mechanical stress, the flexible internal protective coating is not affected.

 Drawbacks:

  • A great deal of energy is needed to manufacture aluminium. In addition, its production gives rise to waste products that are damaging to the environment. Thanks to the use of recycled aluminium, the energy consumption can be considerably reduced – by up to 95% – and damage to the environment caused by waste products avoided. For this reason, we are gradually shifting to the use of residual aluminium from industry for our Dr. Hauschka aluminium tubes.

 

What are the benefits and drawbacks of plastic as a packaging material?

Benefits:

  • For our Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products we use the energy-efficient, easily recyclable plastics polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Where possible we use recycled plastic, for example, for the plastic bottles used for Dr. Hauschka Hay Blossom and Cardamom Cleansing Balm and Swiss Pine and Sea Salt Cleansing Gel, made of up to 97% recycled plastic.

  • In the case of Dr. Hauschka make-up products we use, among other things, the plastic materials acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer and styrene acrylonitrile resin (ABS and SAN). Here we have conscientiously opted for a highly impact-resistant, scratch-resistant and neutral-smelling material, as decorative cosmetics are used for comparatively longer and are subjected to more stress due to being carried around in handbags.

  • Many new developments are underway in the area of plastics. This means that the new plastic packaging which uses less material provides better and better product protection. Such packaging provides a good barrier against external influences. Airless packaging systems, like those that we use for the products in our regeneration series, prevent air from being drawn back into the system when the cream is taken out and so prevents impurities or micro-organisms from being carried from the surrounding air into the packaging.

    With the airless packaging system or tubes it is also possible to almost completely empty the container thanks to the flexible properties of the materials used.

  • Furthermore, plastics stand out for their special qualities: they are light, shatter-proof, highly resilient and allow for many different designs and uses. So they are ideal for products like Dr. Hauschka Compact Powder or Shower Cream, which are popular companions for those who are out and about or for use in the shower.
  • As with the raw materials that we use, when selecting the materials for our packaging we also pay attention to their flawless quality and purity. In the manufacturing of the plastic materials that we use, neither softening agents (e.g. phthalates), nor similarly problematic additives like bisphenol A (BPA) are used.

    The recycled plastics that we use and that come into direct contact with the product have a very high level of purity and quality and meet the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 on food contact materials and Regulation (EC) No 282/2008 on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods.

  • In comparison with glass and aluminium, the manufacturing of plastic is less detrimental to the climate. For this reason, we do not want to strictly rule it out.

 Drawback:

  • Unfortunately, in Germany and the EU at present, only a small proportion of plastics are reused. The majority is burned to produce energy. The reasons: To provide better protection for the contents and depending on technicalities, packaging is often made of different materials that are difficult to separate. It is also, however, significant that waste management systems that could separate materials economically are lacking both across Europe and worldwide, resulting in the majority of resources not being reused.

    Therefore, we will pay even more attention to the design of our packaging and advertising materials. Only if materials enter the recycling cycle as well sorted as possible can they be used to make other high-quality materials for packaging or other uses.

 

Are bioplastics used for Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products?

From our point of view, bioplastics based on renewable raw materials do not live up to their name by far and are often no more sustainable than plastics made from mineral oils. Often criticised is their farming, which is linked to the use of pesticides and fertilisers, as well as the use of genetically modified plants and competition over fields or areas of woodland. For us they come into consideration when they are demonstrably better for the environment than conventional plastics.

At present we do not use biodegradable bioplastics either. If they are not properly disposed of they can contribute to the problems caused by microplastics. However, we can see an alternative material in sustainable, environmentally-friendly biopolymers. For this reason, we are keeping an eye on developments and we participate as an industrial partner in this area in different research projects.

Why does Dr. Hauschka use folding boxes?
  • Folding boxes help us in many ways. To start with, for us as a manufacturer they are important for communicating information that is required by law. They provide room for product information such as ingredients, instructions for use and manufacturer information. They also enable us to list the ingredients in German, as the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) alone has proven to be incomprehensible to our customers. If there is room on the product itself, as is the case of our large plastic tubes and bottles, where possible we are increasingly omitting the use of folding boxes.

  • However, this outer packaging is also especially important for product protection. It protects our glass, plastic and metal packaging during transport and storage and in point-of-sale displays from breakage, dirt, dents, scratches and solar irradiation. With the help of folding boxes we can guarantee the quality of our products, reduce complaints from points of sale and prevent products from being ruined.

  • Folding boxes are also essential in our production and logistics departments. They enable products to be packed in bundles and to be stacked more efficiently and safety during delivery. In this way we can avoid additional transport packaging for protecting the products during transport. Although at first the use of folding boxes seems to be difficult to understand, they help us to optimise the manufacturing process of many products, to organise our product logistics more efficiently and thus achieve greater resource efficiency and in turn environmental sustainability.

  • For printing we use mineral-oil-free inks made from renewable raw materials. Our folding boxes are made of pulp originating from sustainable forest management (FSC). Our Blue-Angel-certified package inserts are made 100% from recycled paper and our folding boxes for make-up products consist of 70% recycled paper (up to 90% from 2020).
How recyclable is the packaging used by Dr. Hauschka Skin Care?
  • Despite the energy-intensive production of glass and aluminium, these materials, contrary to plastics in general, are highly recyclable, which is why both are referred to as permanent materials. Plastics used to package our skin care series include polyethylene and polypropylene, which are commonly used in industry worldwide. For these materials in many countries, including Germany, there are recycling facilities which enable them to be recycled. Plastics like ABS and SAN, which are used to some extent in our make-up packaging, are not currently recycled in Germany for economic reasons. Of course, we are currently working on achieving the recyclability of our make-up packaging.

  • All Dr. Hauschka packaging is fully licensed by Duales System Deutschland GmbH and registered in the central packaging register. This also includes service packaging such as paper bags and gift packaging. Consequently, we fulfil our duties as far as the packaging laws are concerned and pay a licence fee with which we guarantee the collection and sorting of the packaging that we bring onto the market. Outside of Germany, licensing is carried out by the importers depending on the legal situation.

  • In principle, packaging can only be recycled if it is entered into the intended recycling cycle, that is, glass in the glass bin, paper and cardboard in the paper bin and light packaging made from plastic, metal and compound materials in the recyclable waste bin.

    So, to enable our materials to be recycled we ask that Dr. Hauschka Skin Care packaging be placed in the intended recycling cycle, which also means separating different materials such as lids from glass bottles. We proactively point this out on a lot of our packaging.

What does Dr. Hauschka do to design sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is a very complex matter, with each packaging made of this material having certain benefits but also its own particular drawbacks. For this reason, regardless of the formulation, with each product we weigh up which packaging is the most suitable and prioritise based on the same aspects: product protection, material savings, recyclability and proportion of recycled materials. We also take into account our customers’ user habits and the ability to fully empty the product containers.

The resources used to make glass, aluminium and conventional plastic are not infinite. For this reason it is important to limit the use of materials in packaging and advertising materials to the bare minimum. This is why we are working on using less and less materials.

With our Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products we count on our packaging being recycled. This means that the packaging must be designed in such a way that it is possible to recycle the individual materials. Only proper sorting enables the individual materials to be recycled and in turn ensure high-quality recycled materials. We encourage this by paying even more attention to the design of our packaging and advertising materials. To close the recycling cycle, reuse must follow recycling. For this reason we will increasingly be replacing materials made from new raw materials with recycled materials. By using such materials, like PCR plastics (PCR: Post Consumer Recycling – packaging that has already been used by consumers, among others), we are not only saving resources but we are also contributing actively towards climate protection. This is because recycling reduces the energy-intensive, environmentally-damaging exploitation and manufacturing of raw materials.

Does Dr. Hauschka offer refill packaging?

As a manufacturer of certified natural cosmetics, we conscientiously do not use synthetic preservatives, antioxidants or UV filters. As we do not use the above-mentioned substances in our natural cosmetics, but use numerous natural substances, our products do not have an infinite shelf life. To guarantee a long shelf life for our Dr. Hauschka preparations, we take different measures.

These include high standards of hygiene in production, corresponding to those in the production of pharmaceuticals. We perform comprehensive quality and purity tests on the raw materials used, as well as on the finished products, and choose the right packaging that will protect the product from the air, solar irradiation and microbiological contamination even once it has been opened.

The reuse of pumps, atomisers and packaging unfortunately poses the risk of the product becoming spoiled due to possible microbial contamination from the used packaging, pump or surrounding air. This can only be counteracted by using synthetic preservatives, which goes against our principles. For product protection reasons, therefore, for our products such as Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Body Milk or Rose Day Cream Light we are currently unable to offer refill solutions.