Certifications like the EU Ecolabel and the German Ecolabel BLUE ANGEL classify skin cleansing agents as especially sustainable
In terms of environmental sustainability, the criteria of the voluntary ecolabels exceed the statutory provisions by far. Non-food products are mainly rated regarding use of raw and hazardous materials, water and power consumption as well as choice of packaging and its disposal. In Germany, the RAL gGmbH is responsible for assessing the products against the criteria set for it. The ecolabels can only be used if all criteria are fulfilled.
The EU Ecolabel shows a stylized flower with 12 stars surroundig the Greek letter “e“ for Europe. Therefore, the EU Ecolabel is called Euro Flower as well. The European Commission awards the popular label to those products and services having a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle. The EU Ecolabel is recognised in all EU member states as well as in Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Turkey. Thus, the Euro Flower is a Europe-wide reference for consumers, willing to support a sustainable production and environmentally-friendly products.
Generally, the German Ecolabel BLUE ANGEL is mainly awarded to consumer goods. Cosmetic products, e.g. shampoos, soaps or shower gels can be awarded.
Our liquid skin cleanser ECOSAN, for example, was honoured with the BLUE ANGEL in 2017. For the very first time, a cosmetic rinse-off product was awareded the renowned German Ecolabel for particularly environmentally- and health-friendly articles.
The Blue Angel - the environmental label from the German federal government - has set stringent standards for environmentally friendly, healthy and durable products and services in an independent and credible way since 1978. The Blue Angel is Germany‘s most well-known environmental label. With the Blue Angel, we can credibly demonstrate our environmental commitment and our product responsibility and thus, we clearly distinguish ourselves from our competitors. With the Blue Angel for cosmetic products, we show, that we
- reduce the pollution of waste water and bodies of water, e.g. by largely avoiding the use of not readily biodegradabble ingredients and by reducing the product toxicity to aquatic organisms to a minimum,
- use renewable raw materials in surfactants that have been cultivated under sustainable conditions or which support sustainable cultivation,
- reduce packaging and thus, waste to a minimum and simplify the recycling of the packaging.
- Use of renewable raw materials
» Surfactants must be primarily produced from renewable raw materials, meaning that the proportion of renewable carbon in the total carbon within the surfactant system must be 70%.
» If raw materials produced from palm (kernel) oil are used, the sustainable cultivation of the oil plants on certified plantations must be verified.
- Requirements for the biodegradability of the ingredients
» Surfactants must be readily biodegradable under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
» There are special requirements for the biodegradability of synthetic polymers.
» Only a limited amount of aerobically not readily biodegradable substances may be used.
- Limitation of toxicity to aquatic organisms
- Avoidance of substances harmful to health and the environment, e. g. through
» Exclusion of hazardous substances above and beyond current legal requirements.
» Strict requirements for preservatives, colorants and fragrances
» Exclusion of microplastics
- Packaging requirements
» Limiting the weight of the packaging based on the amount of material
» Requirements for good recyclability
» The design should allow economical dosing and complete emptying of the packaging.
* Source: Factsheet “The Blue Angel for shampoos, shower gels, soaps and other so-called rinse-off cosmetic products (DE-UZ 203)”, Version: March 2021
The Blue Angel applies to rinse-off cosmetic products for private and/or commercial use.
Around 790,000 tons of cosmetic products are produced every year in Germany*. They may contain substances that are not readily biodegradable, that are damaging to water organisms or accumulate in the environment or in organisms. These substances can find their way into the aquatic environment via waste water. The Blue Angel helps to avoid the use of these environmentally damaging substances as far as possible and to ensure that the products have the least possible impact on the environment and human health during their use and disposal. To guarantee that the quality of the products does not suffer, the Blue Angel also requires that the product‘s fitness for use is verified by an independent test.
Source: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 28, No. 12, pp. 2485-2489, 2009