Italian Firm Launches Renewable & Degradable Microplastics Alternative for Cosmetics

Novamont’s Biodegradable Answer to Plastic Pollution from Microbeads

To tackle the problems created by microplastics, both in the waste stream and the environment, Italian bioplastic firm has developed a range of readily biodegradable ingredients.


To tackle the problems created by microplastics, both in the waste stream and the environment, Italian bioplastic firm has developed a range of readily biodegradable ingredients.

The company explained that its new materials are suitable for cosmetic applications, use renewable raw materials, and offer performance comparable to traditional microplastics

The new line of bio-based and readily biodegradable ingredients for cosmetic applications, Dubbed CELUS-BI®, the company said that the new line of bio-based and readily biodegradable ingredients is fighting marine plastic pollution and preserving natural resources through research.

Non-biodegradable microplastics in cosmetic products are a major cause for concern. Every day, tonnes of plastic ‘dust’ resulting from the use of personal care products (i.e. microplastics with an exfoliating function for shower gels and various “rinse-off” cleansing products) are poured into the world’s seas, together with microplastics having specific technical properties used in face and body creams, sunscreens and make-up (non-rinsing, or “leave-on” products).

However, the company noted that the EU is looking into measures to limit the use of microplastics in cosmetics, already in force in some European countries, while various solutions are already available for rinse-off products. However, technically sound and truly sustainable alternatives are urgently needed for the more complex leave-on products.

In this respect, the most advanced product in the range, CELUS-BI® FEEL, is an original and sustainable response to the need to eliminate microplastics from “leave-on” cosmetics.

The product, developed in close collaboration with ROELMI HPC, an Italian company with long-standing experience in sustainable cosmetics, biodegrades rapidly and totally in the environment in accordance with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

It is fully biodegraded in just a few days in a purifying plant, ensuring that no residues end up in rivers and seas and with the enormous advantage that the resulting sludge has no microplastics.

CELUS-BI® FEEL is therefore suitable for use in applications where dispersion in water is highly likely (solar), eliminating potential pollution and/or accumulation. CELUS-BI® FEEL also has an exceptional environmental profile, determined through the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) method.

According to Novamont, preliminary results (on 1 kg of material from “cradle to gate”) show average greenhouse gas emissions that are 75% to 95% lower than those for the range of products currently used for the same applications, while an average of 60% to 75% less non-renewable energy resources are consumed than the same range of standard products.

Production capacity available for CELUS-BI® FEEL would suffice to cover the entire European need for microplastics for the cosmetics industry.

The company added that tth excellent technical performance, CELUS-BI® FEEL is a texturising agent that guarantees excellent use properties such as softness, velvet touch and film-forming capacities. The ingredient also has excellent sebum control and high compatibility with active substances, vegetable oils and fragrances.

Besides CELUS-BI® FEEL, the range includes CELUS-BI® SPHERA (exfoliants) and CELUS-BI® ESTERS (emollients), products made with renewable raw materials of European origin in synergy with food crops, respecting the specific nature of local areas.

Cosmetic Prototypes
By way of demonstration, and to highlight the level of technical performance that can be achieved by combining the revolutionary CELUS-BI® FEEL with other products of the CELUS-BI® family, Roelmi has developed a range of cosmetic prototypes, including a compact powder. It is an exceptionally velvety blusher that clearly shows there is a sustainable alternative to plastic microbeads (and volatile silicones) for the cosmetics industry, without increasing the dosages or costs compared to standard products.

“The solution to the problem of microbeads in cosmetics that CELUS-BI® FEEL and CELUS-BI® SPHERA represent is a concrete demonstration that the integrated supply chain created by Novamont over the years, and which is still evolving, is a rich source of opportunities in many sectors, both upstream and downstream,” commented Novamont CEO, Catia Bastioli.

“Collaboration with partners like Roelmi, that are open to innovation, competent and sensitive to issues such as sustainability, is essential. Starting from products developed jointly, it will be possible to create new alliances with companies that share our commitment to the environment and local areas in order to speed up sustainable transformation of the sector,” she continued.

Giacomo Santus, CEO of Roelmi HPC, added: “Roelmi believes in an ethical and chain-based approach to innovation in the cosmetics field and has found in Novamont, one of the pioneers of the circular bioeconomy, a wealth of opportunities to develop a range of truly sustainable and accessible products.”

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