Circular Packaging in the Cosmetics Industry: A Systematic Review on Challenges and the Current State of Sustainable Strategies and Solutions

Research output: Contribution to book/conference proceedings/anthology/reportChapter in book/anthology/reportInvitedpeer-review


The largest share of plastics is used for packaging of goods (almost 40% in the EU), resulting in a correlating impact on resource use, carbon emissions and land-fill. The application of sustainable strategies to packaging should help to reduce negative impacts and promote the development of sustainable consumption. The authors of this chapter set out the need for a fundamental change in cosmet-ics packaging with its exacerbated requirements, which is already mirrored by relevant regulations that will take effect soon. Established cosmetics packaging design strategies do not meet these requirements. A shift to sustainable circular packaging is needed in the sector. A systematic literature review is conducted that analyses the body of research on circular packaging design in the cosmet-ics industry. The authors identify current challenges for sustainable packaging that are specifically exacting in the cosmetics sector e. g. due to functional and hygienic requirements. In addition to the functions and current standards of pack-aging, packaging alternatives are presented, which are categorised according to the R-strategies Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Subsequently, the aspects of customer acceptance and decision-making are discussed as relevant factors for the success of circular packaging solutions in the cosmetics industry. It is found that there is a gap between known sufficiency strategies of sustainable circular economy and its implementation in cosmetics packaging, as it is in packaging in general.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign for a Sustainable Circular Economy
EditorsGavin Brett Melles, Christian Wölfel
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISBN (electronic)978-981-99-7532-7
ISBN (print)978-981-99-7531-0
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Publication series

SeriesDesign Science and Innovation

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-0937-1927/work/150329972
ORCID /0009-0000-4340-9154/work/150330357
ORCID /0000-0003-3139-6178/work/150330624