To be or not to be “green” – that is not the question anymore, as nowadays almost every packaged goods manufacturer would prefer to be more eco-friendly, not only due to growing ecological awareness among consumers (influencing their purchase decisions) but also because of tougher regulations towards recyclability. A new lip balm from Kneipp is an example of packaging that uses such “green” effect to add a point of difference in a busy category but also to improve positioning of the “100% natural” product.

The lightly-fragranced and intensely moisturizing Kneipp product comes in a tube with twist-up dispensing which is a well-known pack format. As in many similar products, the inner barrel is made of plastics. What makes the difference, however, is the outer shell made from a blend of PE plastics (30%) and recycled cork material (70%). According to the manufacturer, the recycled cork is a by-product of Portuguese wine cork production, and is classified as CO2 neutral, as well as ECO CERT and COSMOS compliant. In addition, the product’s display card is made from cartonboard with 25% grass content and has a natural, matte finish.

The plastics-cork combination gives a strong material for product protection with the appearance of natural cork to match the natural credentials of this lip balm. It brings a very natural look for the pack and introduces an unusual soft-touch tactile feel that is very pleasant to handle. As for the outer pack, the grass fibres can be seen in the surface of the board, which enhances the natural look and feel of the display card. As the manufacturer claims, using 25% grass content results in water saving of 3,000 litres per ton of board compared to conventional paperboard. Grass grows rapidly and is easily renewed, making it a cheap and plentiful sustainable alternative to conventional forestry sources. Pack was winner of a German Packaging Award 2018 in the Sustainability category, and its all-board display card is a good alternative to plastics blister packs and blister cards. It contains the product very securely and deters tampering, but allows the consumer to see and feel the unusual cork material at the same time.

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