Non-biodegradable microplastics in cosmetic products are a cause for concern as they represent a source of water pollution. Every day, tonnes of plastic ‘dust’ resulting from the use of personal care products (i.e. microplastics with an exfoliating function for shower gels and various “rinse-off” cleansing products) are poured into Europe’s seas, together with microplastics having specific technical properties used in face and body creams, sunscreens and make-up (non-rinsing, or “leave-on” products). Europe is looking into measures to limit the use of microplastics in cosmetics, already in force in some European countries, while various solutions are already available for rinse-off products.
However, technically sound and truly sustainable alternatives are urgently needed for the more complex leave-on products.
With the intention of preserving and regenerating natural resources through innovative development, and in close collaboration with ROELMI HPC (a leading Italian company with long-standing experience in the production of sustainable active and functional ingredients), NOVAMONT has developed a line of readily biodegradable ingredients for cosmetic applications: CELUS-BI®, a new standard of innovation in the sector.
Today Novamont can present the most advanced product in the range — CELUS-BI® FEEL. With excellent technical performance, this product is an original and sustainable response to the need to eliminate microplastics from leave-on cosmetics. CELUS-BI® FEEL is a texturising agent that guarantees excellent use properties such as softness, velvet touch and film-forming capacities. The ingredient also has excellent sebum control and high compatibility with active substances, vegetable oils and fragrances.
CELUS-BI® FEEL is “readily biodegradable” in accordance with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and biodegrades rapidly and totally in the environment. It is fully biodegraded in just a few days in a purifying plant, ensuring that no residues end up in rivers and seas and with the enormous advantage that the resulting sludge has no microplastics. CELUS-BI® FEEL is therefore suitable for use in applications where dispersion in water is highly likely (solar), eliminating potential pollution and/or accumulation. CELUS-BI® FEEL also has an exceptional environmental profile, determined through the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) method.
Preliminary results (on 1 kg of material from “cradle to gate”) show average greenhouse gas emissions that are 75% to 95% lower than those for the range of products currently used for the same applications, while an average of 60% to 75% less non-renewable energy resources are consumed than the same range of standard products.
Production capacity available for CELUS-BI® FEEL would suffice to cover the entire European need for microplastics for the cosmetics industry.
Besides CELUS-BI® FEEL, the range includes CELUS-BI® SPHERA (exfoliants) and CELUS-BI® ESTERS (emollients), products made with renewable raw materials of European origin in synergy with food crops, respecting the specific nature of local areas.
By way of demonstration, and to highlight the level of technical performance that can be achieved by combining the revolutionary CELUS-BI® FEEL with other products of the CELUS-BI® family, Roelmi has developed a range of cosmetic prototypes, including the compact powder that is being presented today. It is an exceptionally velvety blusher that clearly shows there is a sustainable alternative to plastic microbeads for the cosmetics industry, without increasing the dosages or costs compared to standard products.
“The solution to the problem of microbeads in cosmetics that CELUS-BI® FEEL and CELUS-BI® SPHERA represent is a concrete demonstration that the integrated supply chain created by Novamont over the years, and which is still evolving, is a rich source of opportunities in many sectors, both upstream and downstream,” commented Novamont CEO, Catia Bastioli. “Collaboration with partners like Roelmi, that are open to innovation, competent and sensitive to issues such as sustainability, is essential. Starting from products developed jointly, it will be possible to create new alliances with companies that share our commitment to the environment and local areas in order to speed up sustainable transformation of the sector.”
Giacomo Santus, CEO of Roelmi Holding HPC, summed up the meaning and value of the collaboration with Novamont as follows: “Roelmi believes in an ethical and chain-based approach to innovation in the cosmetics field and has found in Novamont, one of the pioneers of the circular bioeconomy, a wealth of opportunities to develop a range of truly sustainable and accessible products.”