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Project name:

Innovative solutions for the recycling of plastics cosmetic packaging

Status: Idea
Creation date: 23-11-2022

Project objectives:


Cosmetic packaging is seldom recycled due to its small size and complexity.

Issues include:

  1. Materials: the utilisation of different materials and plastic types
  2. Size: small size packaging (not collected in current waste streams)
  3. Decoration: various decorations processes (direct printing, sleeves, etc)
  4. Residue (in some cases): product left over in the packaging

The world plastic recycling average rate is low ~ 9% (with only 6% in Singapore).

Today many recyclables are not segregated by consumers or, if segregated, get contaminated by general waste (40% contamination in Singapore). The only type of plastic packaging recycling that is being implemented at scale is manual sorting of detergent or water bottles (towards mechanical recycling). Shiseido is therefore looking for solutions to recycle cosmetic packaging that can be scaled, and where the aforementioned issues can be solved.

Our packaging waste comes from 2 sources:

  1. Consumer waste (which could be collected in our own point of sales): Collection of these will depend on consumer's behaviour (supported by incentives), however, we are unable to estimate the amount of packaging that could be collected
  2. Destruction of unused / unsold products due to expiry or discontinuation (available in our warehouses): The amount of packaging collected is under our control however, in this case, there are additional steps to consider as the product is “new” , such as unboxing and removal / emptying of the content.

Shiseido is looking for solutions that can tackle both or one of the aforementioned waste sources (consumer waste as well as unused/sold products)

Step by step potential design of the desired solution:

  • Consumer brings back empty packaging(s) to the store and puts it/them into the collection “bin” (attracted by an incentive)
  • Once full, the store contacts the logistics partner to come and empty it
  • If necessary, packaging is sorted (if different type of plastics are collected) and checked (to make sure they are relatively clean)
  • Packaging is grouped by plastic type and sent and sold to recyclers
  • Recyclers recycle the plastic into PCR plastic resin

Shiseido conducted a program in China for one of our brands with a well known recycling solution provider. This project was stopped due to the fact that the costs were too high.

Shiseido is interested in solutions from full-service providers who can collect, transport, sort and recycle plastic packaging into new product packaging (using mechanical or chemical recycling). In terms of cost, we hope solutions providers can succeed in recycling plastic packaging into post-consumer recycled (PCR) creating value as PCR plastic is a commodity in very high demand currently (demand surpasses the supply).

Our idea is to create a model where the sales of PCR offsets some of the overall solution cost. We will be looking to explore with the solution provider to what extent this is feasible.

Shiseido is not interested in Waste to energy (WTE) or very small-scale upcycling operations. Plastic to oil or other downcycling are the least preferred option but could be considered.


Shiseido will be evaluating the solution providers on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, we will be looking at the following requirements and criteria:

Technical requirements:

  • The mapping of the solution (logistic flows, partners, etc)
  • The cost and LCA assessment of the solution
  • The end result, such as whether packaging is easily disposable, collected and recycled and its versatility (whether or not it can be used more than once and in different settings)

Performance requirements:

  • The overall LCA or CO2 emissions can't be greater than 'Waste to Energy' or conversion to 'new oil' (pyrolysis).


Target is to use the sale of PCR as a means to reduce the total cost of the solution. Specific cost targets will be co-defined together with the solution provider.


Phase 1: MVP development (collection of one type of packaging (monomaterial PET or HDPE) using 1 partner for logistics and 1 recycling plant (mechanical recycling))

Phase 2: solution (TBD)

Phase 3: scaling (TBD)


If successful, Shiseido would be looking at becoming the first customer of the solution provider and scale up the solution together. Thereafter, we see opportunities to scale the solution throughout APAC as well as with other FMCG companies.


  1. Prize money for winning the project S$10,000
  2. Potential paid trial opportunities (amount to be assessed on a case-by-case basis)
  3. All technical information needed to prove the concept such as packaging technical specification, POS infrastructure, etc


The solution could potentially apply to multiple FMCG brands within APAC. We expect a TRL level of 7. Include a clear proposal on the various partners to be involved in implementing the solution as well as an estimation of the overall cost.


Contact / source: Enterprise Singapore Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge - Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge 2022 (


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