Compliance attitudes generally towards bulk retail cosmetic dispensers

I see a growing trend towards brands offering bulk dispensers for shampoo, body wash etc in retail outlets. Here, customers bring their own container for re-filling. I'd be concerned with contamination issues etc. The marketing thrust is that it reduces the use of plastic containers.

What are the attitudes generally of cosmetics compliance authorities towards this method of retailing?

Thanks
Dr. Mike Thair
Cofounder & Chief Formulator
Indochine Natural

Comments

  • edited May 2018
    it introduces an unknown element to the process: namely, what has the consumer done with the container before bringing it in to be refilled

    should the product become contaminated due to a dirty container, the contamination would not be detected by the authorities unless a serious adverse effect occurred as a result of its usage, because the product by that point is no longer for sale, and it was (presumably) clean when it was sold

    it also brings up the issue of declared weights, which is relatively minor as far as the consumer is concerned, but could potentially fly back and hit the retailer in the face: is the product consistently filled to the declared volume, within the tolerances required by law?

    in summary: my opinion is that this is a bad idea, and the issues listed above are the most likely reason why this is generally not done in Europe
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Generally, agree with you @Bill_Toge. Do you know if the authorities in Europe have made any cosmetics compliance statements on this issue? What I observe recently is that the environmental issue of plastics waste is now starting to gain momentum. This is driving the bulk dispenser approach. 

    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • @mikethair the view taken over here is that the vast majority of thermoplastics, bar a few materials used for caps, are recyclable, and in the UK at least, local authorities have people segregate their plastic/glass/paper waste from the rest of their household waste, and have it sent to a specialist facility to be recycled

    this system is in place in many other European countries as well, and while it's in place, it renders bulk dispensers unnecessary
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Boo hoo hoo - says the packaging industry.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • edited May 2018
    typically you only see these "bulk" sizes at industrial supply.  and not for consumer "refill".  for the reasons mentioned in the thread.

    --

    you are basically seeing, break-pack on industrial products.
  • Perhaps only suited for really poor city areas or countries.

    End customers will fear the retailer waters down the barrels, since they ain't individually packaged and sealed.

    I foresee no-plastic (steel?) sturdy reusable soap pumps and you buy the refills in glass bottles (no plastic as well). Interesting niche market with great upside potential.
  • Pumps are a pain. They are quite expensive and are thrown away when the package is empty.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • In the US (the Market I feel free commenting on), outside of the Farmer's Craft Market, this is hardly ever seen. In fact, one of the few places I heard of doing it stopped suddenly and pulled the stock. IAs far as being more sustainable, we are seeing more indie lines go with glass, more packaging touting a percentage recycled materials and even some cellulose-based packaging that is biodegradable.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications.
  • @mikethair you'd want to:

    1 keep detailed microbial testing records. Independent testing, if possible
    2 A disclaimer about end customers having to provide clean bottles
    3 use the maximum safe amount of preservatives, even redundant preservatives
    4 a disclaimer about customers having to use the whole bottle by 1/2/3 months or so

    all the above in case the bottle provided by the customer is contaminated.

    Out of curiosity, where are you located @mikethair ?
  • In response to your querey   @Gunther ;  our manufacturing facility is located in Malaysia. With my own brand I have zero intention of going down the path of bulk retail dispensers for all the reasons mentionded. Howevere, it was a query from one of the brands we manufacture for.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • I like the idea of refill but how is done is questionable, I have certain ideas of cutting down on plastic using refill concept but not an instore one 
  • You can go back to glass. In fact there's this idea to use the amazon service to exchange the bottles. All the major companies are working on it, so it will be the new thing.
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