The new Plant Pod, billed as the first environmentally sustainable lip balm tube made entirely from plants, is said to look, feel and function like a plastic tube—and that is the key difference for the indie beauty company.
In fact, as one of the largest independent organic lip balm manufacturers in the US, Eco Lips has been searching for more sustainable packaging components for years. The company’s journey has had its ups and downs.
“It has been a long-time coming after many starts and stops with sustainable packaging. We launched the first biodegradable and compostable push-up paper tube in 2014 that was received well by retailers but fell short with consumers. It was ahead of its time and most consumers weren’t willing to compromise on function as the tube was a bit messy,” said Jane Merten, VP-marketing, Eco Lips.
Eco Lips launched a refillable lip balm in 2016, but “retailers weren’t interested in the refill function simply from a space perspective, and consumer habits indicated they lose their lip balm too frequently that they’d need to purchase a new tube instead of refills anyway,” recalled Merten.
It was only after the company discovered the new plant-based material by chance and worked with the manufacturer to create the lip balm tube that the problems were solved.
“It solved our previous ‘lessons’ by marrying form and function so there is no interruption with the retailer or consumer experience. Needless to say, it’s definitely been an evolution of our revolution,” Merten told Happi, who added that Eco Lips has exclusivity in North America.
Eco Lips’ Plant Pod contains zero plastic elements, heavy metals or polymers, including BPA and phthalates. Instead, it’s made from a renewable resource: repurposed plant material that otherwise would have been burned. The plant material is converted to cellulous material and injection molded to make the Eco Lips tubes.
“Because it functions just like a regular lip balm tube, there will be no interruption in the consumer’s experience. Visually, it does have some speckling from the plant material, and it does feel slightly weightier in the hand,” said Merten.
The plant-based tubes are available via online order and will begin appearing at retail in the next several months, according to the company, which is a certified B Corp.
Officials said the company will invest in digital media campaigns that will encourage consumers to Kiss Plastic Goodbye! It will also communicate on the plastic-free label that the tube is plastic free, “so consumers understand and feel great about using the product,” said Merten.
This new tube meets consumers’ desires for plant-based, sustainable products in all aspects of their lives as it moves the needle toward a zero-plastic future.
“Plant Pod aligns with our continued push for sustainable solutions. By eliminating fossil fuel-based packaging, we are effectively reducing our carbon footprint for ourselves and for the consumer,” said Merten. “Investing in this new technology was a no-brainer as it not only aligns with our values as a company but satisfies the ever-growing demand for environmentally conscious products. As with any big change, there comes a transitional process though. Plant Pod currently comes in a standard .15oz tube, but we have many other products in different sizes still in plastic. We have lots of work yet to do!”