SK Chemicals to Supply Recyclable Resins to Estée Lauder

Estée Lauder will use recycled PET and PET-like resins from SK Chemicals to make its global cosmetics packaging circular.
Estée Lauder will use recycled PET and PET-like resins from SK Chemicals to make its global cosmetics packaging circular. Courtesy of Estée Lauder

Goal is to redesign the brand’s cosmetics packaging and make it circular

SK Chemicals of South Korea is in the news again for its circular packaging initiatives. On Oct. 17 the resin producer announced that it had signed a letter of intent with high-end global cosmetics giant Estée Lauder to supply plastics that will facilitate the circularity of its packaging.

Under the agreement, SK chemicals will provide Ecotria CR and Skypet CR resins, as well as Ecozen Claro. Estée Lauder, ranked as the No. 2 cosmetics company in the world after L’Oreal, will use the resins to develop eco-friendly packaging.

Advanced Recycling Boosts Eco-Friendliness of Resins

Ecotria CR and Skypet CR are polymerized from waste polyethylene terephthalate that has been reprocessed and converted into virgin-like PET resin by advanced recycling (also known as chemical recycling). Ecozen Claro is a semi-crystalline copolyester resin that provides high clarity and chemical resistance. Products made with the material are compatible with PET recycling streams.

Estée Lauder plans to gradually increase the use of recycled resins in its products and replace non-recyclable packaging with designs that incorporate recyclable or recycled materials, to move the company’s packaging sustainability goals forward.

Neither SK Chemicals nor Estée Lauder released a timetable for the supply and use of these resins in new packaging or information about how much material might be supplied annually for cosmetics packaging.

Deal Seen Enhancing Circular Packaging for Cosmetics

The agreement is expected to speed acceleration of the circularity and sustainability movement in the global cosmetics packaging market. SK Chemicals’ recycling resins will be applied throughout Estée Lauder’s portfolio of brands, which number around 20 and consume many millions of packages yearly

In March, SK Chemicals signed an agreement with Yonwoo, a subsidiary of Kolmar Korea, which reportedly holds the highest market share in that country’s cosmetics packaging market, to develop and commercialize containers using recyclate.

Also in March, SK established a subsidiary, SK Shantou, and signed an asset acquisition agreement related to the circular recycling of raw material and circular recycled PET business of Shuye, a Chinese company specializing in green material, thereby establishing a global base for a recycled plastics business and stable production system.

And in June, SK signed an agreement with COSMAX of South Korea, a global leader in cosmetics original development manufacturing, to build a cooperative cosmetics container proposal model using sustainable plastics.

By Pat Toensmeier | October 18, 2023

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