The 100% PCR PP Lush Black Pot—Start of a New PCR Trend?

Chorus of brand owners at recycling conference: “We want PCR.”

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During the Plastics Recycling Conference (check out the May issue of PT for a full show report), the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR, Washington, DC) selected the 2017 APR Plastics Recycling Showcase winners.

The showcase is developed to highlight and promote industry leading innovations that have a positive impact on plastics collection and recycling, and it also focuses on recently commercialized innovations developed by APR member companies.

Here are the following winners:

  • The AMUT de-labeler for PET bottle wash lines
  • Avery Dennison’s CleanFlake adhesive technology
  • Berry Plastics laminate PCR tube
  • Dow Chemical’s RETAIN novel polymer modifiers
  • Ettlinger’s ECO continuous melt filter for PET extrusion
  • The Lush Black Pot: The first FDA PP PCR resin and rigid packaging application for cosmetics developed by KW Plastics.

Last year at The Plastics Recycling Conference, KW’s Stephanie Baker referenced the company’s work with Lush PCR PP packaging so let’s take a closer look at it.

If you’re not familiar with Lush, the company is a cosmetics brand that is focused on handmade ingredients (in fact, on your next trip to Orlando, you can check out this PP PCR winning package at its airport store while you’re waiting for your flight). 

The Lush Black Pot is a 100% postconsumer polypropylene package that includes an injection molded container and lid. The package, designed to hold cream and lotion, is made with KWR621FDA and KWR621FDA-20 resins that have received FDA letters of non-objection for 100% content. 

“It was imperative that KW Plastics was able to provide consistent quality and contaminant-free feedstock to our molding partner, Plascon Plastics, so that we could have confidence in our packaging,” says Gary Calicdan, Senior Buyer Packaging & Print of Lush Cosmetics. “We were committed to providing a package that was as sustainable and innovative as our products. We were unwilling to compromise quality, such as improper fitting lids, discoloration or over threading, or performance so it was vital that our PCR choice would allow for a sturdy, perfect fit for the pot and lid without any leaking issues.”

According to Pedro Morales, Director of Sales and Marketing for KW Plastics, the largest technical challenges were not simply in achieving the specifications, but more importantly, being able to maintain the strict source control of feedstock and regulatory compliance requirements of a cosmetic package.

“We understood that our resin not only had to offer the environmental and economic advantages but performance was nonnegotiable,” Morales says. “The aesthetics, dimensions, stability, stack and impact strength were of key importance for the mating lids and pots.”

And here is a standout quote here from Morales:

“The Lush Black Pot is a wonderful example of the success both a resin supplier and brand owner can enjoy when each link in the supply chain understands the respective challenges and commitment to using PCR.”

I’ve attended this conference twice and there’s always a good amount of big-time brand owners there and they all echoed the same statement: “we want your PCR.”

It’s not a fleeting trend, it’s a very viable business but all members of the supply chain must commit to it. 

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