Henkel and Ardagh Group Steel strength allows sustainable innovation in aerosols
The unique strength of steel has facilitated a collaboration between Henkel and Ardagh to develop more sustainable packaging for one of Henkel’s leading European consumer products.
By capitalising on the mechanical strength and total barrier properties provided by steel, the new packaging uses less raw materials and water and reduces emissions. Leading to reduced environmental impact for the brand, and demonstrating steel as both a model material for the circular economy and a material for the 21st century.
Founded in 1876, Henkel, the German chemical and consumer goods company based in Düsseldorf, has throughout its history been a leading player in the drive for sustainable development. From the development of innovative new products in the 1950’s designed to reduce foam pollution in lakes in rivers, to the publication of its first Environment Report 1992, Henkel has sought to reduce its environmental impact. Its Sustainability Strategy 2030 is designed to achieve more with less and to triple efficiency.
Today, recognising that to achieve a truly circular economy will require the continued collaboration between all stakeholders in business and industry, Henkel has developed close partnerships with suppliers like the Ardagh Group with whom it has developed a more sustainable container for its leading European hairspray brand, Schwarzkopf Drei Wetter Taft.
Following examination of the containers used for its popular hairspray as well as the production process, Henkel identified an opportunity to significantly improve the product whilst at the same reducing its environmental footprint, by making better use of steel’s unique properties, in particular, its strength.
The strength of the steel used for the container wall meant that by increasing its rigidity, it would be possible to reduce the width which in turn would reduce the quantity of raw material required for each unit.
Working in collaboration with the Ardagh Group, the steel wall of the new 250-mL hairspray container was consequently reduced to just 0.13mm.
Light-weighting the product in this way, was only possible because of the mechanical strength of steel and doing so enabled the Henkel and Ardagh Group’s partnership to deliver a saving of over 15 percent of the material and water used in the production phase, clearly demonstrating their commitment to the principles of a circular economy.
Today, the new Schwarzkopf Drei Wetter Taft steel hairspray container enables Henkel to save a total of up to 3,500 metric tonnes of CO2 and up to 900,000 cubic meters of water every year.
But steel offers many other advantages too, including superior print quality which ensured it remained the material of choice for Henkel. Print quality is of particular importance for a product such as the Schwarzkopf Drei Wetter Taft, which comprises eight colours on average within each design. The colours and striking artwork ensure the product stands out on the shelf, driving sales which might otherwise be missed.
Henkel also favoured the use of steel for its containers due to the short lead times its partner can fulfil while the three- piece can supplied by Ardagh also offers significant cost savings compared to other materials.
Commenting on the new container, Annelene Fisser, Ardagh Group sustainability manager, said: “We work hard with our customers on all aspects of design, manufacturing, and logistics to achieve maximum results and a minimum footprint.
“This result for such an iconic brand and on behalf of a customer with whom we have enjoyed a long relationship is immensely satisfying. We share with Henkel a focused commitment towards a truly circular economy.”
Henkel Beauty Care Innovation and Sustainability Manager Philippe Blank noted that The Drei Wetter Taft hair spray aerosol was an excellent example of a sustainable packaging innovation, contributing to the product recycling and wider principles of the circular economy. He added that Henkel would work even more closely with its suppliers to develop sustainable packaging that makes a significant contribution to Henkel’s focal areas of its sustainability strategy.