Elemis wants to upcycle their own left-over plant waste into bio-based film that will be the base of plastic-free single-use sachets for cosmetic products. To achieve this ambitious goal, the British skincare brand is building on Morro’s expertise on plant-based materials.

A six month R&D project

Created by Xampla, a clean technology start-up spin-out from the University of Cambridge, Morro materials are plant-based drop-in, high-performance replacements for plastics.

The two companies hope that, within six months, their collaboration will yield heat-sealable films that can replace single-use plastics used in skincare samples. Elemis will then explore whether the innovation can be scaled and launched to consumers.

"What we find so exciting about this project with Morro is how utilising waste from left-over plant material can potentially tackle one of our key packaging dilemmas too. This project further reflects our commitment to finding new opportunities to have a positive impact on planet and people throughout our value chain,” said Oriele Frank, Co-Founder, Chief Product and Sustainability Officer at Elemis.

While Elemis is aiming for all of its packaging to be recyclable, reusable or biodegradable by 2025, sachets remain difficult to recycle. Indeed, this popular format for consumers and brands alike is often made from several layers of different materials, and is very light and may pose contamination issues.

The project has been supported by a grant co-funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and Innovate UK.

High interest in alternatives to plastic

According to Xampla, more than half (54%) of UK adults see plastic as a “material of the past” and some 76% would prefer their products “to come in natural, plastic free packaging that can be composted at home or taken by the council alongside food waste”.

"Our collaboration with Elemis unlocks significant potential for the cosmetics industry, where waste materials are transformed into innovative solutions to replace plastic sachets. We are proud to have pioneered our breakthrough material using plant feedstocks and we are looking forward to developing this research further with Elemis," commented Pete Hutton, Chairman of Xampla.