January 9, 2023

The Best Sustainable Packaging Innovations of 2022

With 2022 coming to a close and 2023 off to a strong start, here's a round-up of the best sustainable packaging innovations of the year across select categories.

Best in Bio Based

QUADPACK Woodacity®

Image sourced from QUADPACK

In 2021, QUADPACK launched Woodacity® - a breakthrough range of patented fragrance and skincare closures made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. As a result of two years of research and development focused on turning wood into functional, monomaterial packaging components, Woodacity® overcomes the technical challenges of wood to offer brands a highly aesthetic, functional, and more sustainable approach to closures.  Last year, QUADPACK partnered with Aptar to expand their Woodacity®  range by launching one of the first EU-manufactured wood refillable lipstick. We are excited to see Woodacity®  continue to extend to new formats in 2023.

Why we ❤️ this innovation
  • Most closures contain a plastic insert to maintain functional requirements. Woodacity® closures are specially designed to maximize circularity, with no plastic inserts included in the range
  • Made entirely of wood sourced from sustainably-managed forests
  • Offered in three different closure systems: Solo snap, push, and turn, with a refillable lipstick component and compact component recently added to the range

Best in Aluminum

UA ALU Refillable Airless

Image sourced from UA

Premium airless bottles have long been challenging from a sustainability standpoint. With a non-recyclable heavy wall component often made from SAN or PMMA, airless bottles are typically designed for single use and significantly contribute to waste in our industry. UA's ALU Refillable Airless Bottle is a first-to-market airless bottle made with recycled (+recyclable) aluminum and designed for refill. Now available in 30ml and 50ml stock sizes.

Why we ❤️ this innovation
  • Designed for refill and recyclability, with glue-free assembly so that consumers can easily separate plastic and aluminum components for reuse and recycling
  • While the wall component is made from aluminum, the airless refill is made from a mono-material, recyclable plastic, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of creams, serums, gels, foundations, and more
  • 50% reduction in virgin plastic use compared to traditional 30ml & 50ml airless bottles

Best in Glass


Image sourced from VETROPACK

VETROPACK's Echovai returnable bottle is the world's first returnable bottle made of thermally tempered lightweight glass, offering strong sustainability benefits without compromising quality and performance. Developed over ten years and now produced in Pöchlarn, Austria, Echovai is the solution we've been waiting for to further improve glass sustainability.

Why we ❤️ this innovation
  • Up to 30 per cent lighter weight than standard returnable glass bottles
  • Significant logistics savings and reduction in CO2 emissions per bottle - in initial commercialization case studies, the Echovai glass bottles were able to be stored six high instead of five on a pallet which significantly impacts logistics volume (a reduction by around 1,000 tonnes per year was achieved in this particular case). As a result, the CO2 emissions per bottle can be a quarter of that of the normal same sized returnable bottle.
  • Abrasion resistant - after three years and up to 12 cycles, hardly any scuffing can be seen on the bottles in initial commercialization case studies. It is promising to see that the bottles offer an improvement in durability and an extended lifespan, which will make widespread applications of this new technology possible.

Best in Closures

BERICAP Clipaside

Image sourced from BERICAP

Beverage closures are rarely recycled due to their size. However, with EU Directive 2019/904 coming into effect as of July 2024, it will soon be mandatory in Europe that all plastic caps remain attached to a bottle after opening. Bericap's Clipaside Tethered Closure offers an innovative solution to improve beverage closure recyclability with an easy change-over on the line. While Bericap's Clipaside Tethered Closure launched prior to 2022, their innovative design gained greater traction this past year and is set to continue scaling to more beverage brands in 2023.

Why we ❤️ this innovation
  • Tethered caps ensure that the closure and bottle remain together in the recycling process, which improves recyclability of the total package
  • Improved consumer experience - in a week-long study in which consumers tested the new closures in use on 1.5 litre mineral water bottles, they reported that the closure was easy and intuitive to handle with improved hygiene benefits since the closure cannot fall onto the ground
  • Easy and flexible changeover from traditional caps to tethered caps due to compatibility with neck finishes from 26 to 38 mm without any changes to filling or production lines

Best in Pumps

APG Infinity Monomaterial Pump

Image sourced from APG

Most pumps contain a metal spring for function, which renders a pump non-recyclable even when recycled with a recyclable bottle. APG's new Infinity Monomaterial PE pump ditches the classic metal spring in favor of an all plastic spring to enhance recyclability without compromising form or function.

Why we ❤️ this innovation
  • All plastic construction makes this pump widely recyclable in combination with a PET or HDPE bottle
  • Works for challenging formulas, with dosage between 0.05cc - 0.25cc
  • Custom filling equipment not required

Best Up-and-Comer

Clean Filter Packaging

Image sourced from Clean Filter Packaging

Clean Filter Packaging (CFP) is on our radar for developing a patent-pending material containing bamboo and compostable biopolymers, without the sketchy additives. Founded by a father-daughter duo with deep experience in materials science and product development for clean beauty brands, CFP has a vision to clean up the packaging industry and offer a sustainable, clean alternative to petroleum plastic. They've launched with a 50ml/1.7oz jar made from their innovative material, and are continuing to commercialize their breakthrough technology with new beauty and personal care brands and partners.

Why we ❤️ this innovation
  • Made with upcycled bamboo & bioresins from renewable sources (fermentation), and free of plasticizers, phthalates, BPA, fossil fuels, and petroleum
  • Initial 12 week stability/compatibility testing with water and oil solvents (dimethicone) has been completed, making CFP's material compatible with water-based and oil-based formulas which can sometimes be challenging for compostable solutions
  • Though early in the commercialization process, CFP has shown evidence that their material is highly comparable to traditional plastic from a performance standpoint with tensile strength, density, and freeze-thaw testing successfully completed. Industrial compostability ASTM D6400 testing is currently in process, which would provide evidence for an 'industrially compostable' claim on pack