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April 18, 2024

Luxury Regulated

The landscape of luxury packaging, historically marked by its focus on opulence and high-quality craftsmanship, has reached a pivotal moment. Until recently, environmental considerations were often an afterthought in this sector. However, with the 21st century has come a significant shift in perspective.

As global environmental awareness rises and regulatory demands increase, the integration of eco-friendly standards into luxury secondary packaging has become critically important. It’s clear now that the future of luxury packaging must blend sustainability with sophistication, making eco-consciousness not just an added feature, but a core aspect of luxury itself.

Regulations and legal frameworks have become essential for luxury brands to navigate as they transition from creating packages of prestige and allure to those that exemplify sustainable innovation and regulatory adherence.

Amongst some of the foremost eco-directives to consider are:

…being adopted globally, require producers to be responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, especially the end-of-life stage. This includes the collection, recycling, and disposal of waste, including packaging. Countries across Europe, parts of Asia, Canada, and several US states have implemented EPR laws.

Impact on Brands: A need to consider the product’s end-of-life will require brands to work ever more closely with suppliers to design and innovate packaging that is not only aesthetically pleasing but easily recyclable or reusable. This may lead to significant shifts in material choice, with biodegradability and recyclability becoming considerations from the onset of the design process.

…sets a precedent for comprehensive waste management and recycling targets and the reduction of landfilling, pushing brands towards more sustainable packaging solutions.

Impact on Brands: To meet 2030 goals, brands will likely need to issue design briefs that disrupt the traditional packaging narrative – prioritising materials with lower environmental footprints and thereby contributing to a more circular economy. This may involve exploring ‘unconventional’ materials (i.e. “Pinatex’ – pineapple leather, or sustainable papers) that offer the same luxury feel without the waste.

…encourages the design of recyclable, repairable, and reusable products, impacting luxury packaging innovation.

Impact on Brands: This directive also necessitates a reimagining of packaging design – pushing brands to develop comprehensive briefs that require packaging to be durable, reusable, or fully recyclable. Packaging designers will need to become increasingly creative about how luxury can be conveyed through innovative materials and manufacturing processes that promote longevity and reusability.

…promotes the use of recycled plastic by taxing packaging with less than 30% recycled content, impacting plastic use in luxury packaging.

Impact on Brands: The tax is levied at a rate of £200 per metric ton on plastic packaging components that don’t meet the minimum threshold of 30% recycled content. It applies to plastic packaging produced in or imported into the UK, covering both finished packaging products and components used in packaging.

…target the reduction of single-use plastics, urging luxury brands to find sustainable packaging alternatives.

Impact on Brands: An increased need to direct packaging designers to explore single-use plastic alternative materials that align with environmental goals without compromising the unboxing experience. This might include the use of plant-based plastics, upcycled materials, or advancements in compostable packaging solutions, all of which require thoughtful design consideration in order to maintain a luxury aesthetic.

While REACH and Prop 65 have been in place for some time, they are worth noting as important compliance requirements:

…ensures the safety of chemicals in products, requiring luxury packaging to use registered, non-harmful substances. 

Impact on Brands: A result in tighter collaboration with packaging suppliers to source innovative, non-toxic materials that are ‘environmentally benign’ while still delivering on the ‘luxury promise’ – and potentially leading to new and exciting luxury design aesthetics.

…mandates warnings for products with chemicals that could cause health risks, affecting packaging materials in California. 

Impact on Brands: ‘Prop 65’ has wide-ranging implications for packaging materials used in products destined for California/USA. Brands must ensure their packaging does not expose consumers to harmful chemicals above certain levels and must provide clear warnings when necessary. Staying informed about the list of chemicals and compliance requirements is essential for businesses to avoid penalties and protect consumers. This requires vigilance, as companies have 12 months from the listing of a new chemical to meet warning requirements. This also means continuous monitoring of material composition – and possibly reformulating packaging to avoid penalties, fines and recalls.

…whilst not a regulation, is a ‘family of standards’ offering a global blueprint for environmental management, guiding luxury brands towards sustainable operations through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste. 

Impact on Brands: Adopting these standards ultimately compels brands to issue more stringent briefs to their packaging suppliers and designers, with a greater focus on the use of sustainable design principles and materials. This could further foster innovation in the use of renewable resources and recyclable materials, pushing the envelope of eco-friendly luxury packaging design.

The Stuff You Should Know:

These regulatory frameworks, among others, form the cornerstone of today’s sustainable luxury packaging regulations, compelling brands to integrate environmental considerations into their core designs and operational strategies. 

As we navigate the evolving global landscape, with its diverse regulatory frameworks, IPL Packaging remains dedicated to leading luxury brands through this transition. By offering solutions that seamlessly blend luxury with sustainability, we’ll help pave the way for a more sustainable future – without diluting luxury values – and ensure today’s luxury does not compromise tomorrow’s environment.

Look forward to our next article which offers a closer look at IPL’s approach to sustainable regulations, where challenges and innovations meet. Your engagement is the cornerstone of our journey towards a responsibly luxurious future.


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