Biodegradable Skincare Packaging

︎ Creator:  Jasmine Xu
︎ Supervisors:  Jennifer Bissonnette & Peter Yeadon

This study seeks to create a biocomposite made of mycelium and bioplastic, for a new kind of skincare packaging that is 100% compostable and biodegradable. Current luxury skincare packaging can be excessive when it comes to plastic-coated paper and foam cushioning, as consumers equate excess to quality and luxury. Usually, this type of packaging is not properly recycled and/or goes directly into landfills.

Although it is still impossible for present day biomaterials to replace the vessels that contain skincare products, the packaging for those vessels is not limited by the same constraints for hygiene. Additionally, current beauty and lifestyle trends favor natural, sustainable and cruelty-free products; having 100% compostable packaging not only follows the trend, but has potential for longevity.

The goals of this six-week study include using only biodegradable materials to create the finished product (which includes pigment and adhesive), incorporating embossed text and perforated tear lines into the packaging, and creating different finishes of bioplastic that differentiate product types.

Mycelium is used as the base of the packaging, having a rectangular box form that is molded to hold the vessel comfortably. The exterior component that holds the color and design of the packaging is bioplastic. A difference in order of operations and heating time affected the finish of the bioplastic. The use of edible luster dust gave the bioplastic a shimmery pink look. Wheat paste was used as an adhesive to assemble the packaging.

Some challenges surrounding bioplastic emerged during the study. What was supposed to be bioplastic with a glossy finish turned out to have a layer of white, powdery substance that seems to be potato starch that precipitated at the bottom of the mold. Fortunately, the matte variation was successful and had an even finish.

Furthermore, while the embossed design was legible, overall, there was a lack of precision due to air bubbles and the design had to be enhanced with potato starch, which acted as a pigment to create contrast. The perforated line was difficult to start to rip, but it tore along the line rather smoothly after the initial tear.

While there were some challenges, this study is a substantial start to perfecting viable compostable and biodegradable luxury skincare packaging.

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