Sustainability and environmental stewardship are central to Axilone Group’s development strategy. Reducing the environmental impact of our products has been a pillar of the group’s R&D efforts for a number of years. Among the solutions offered to clients, significant emphasis is placed on packaging recyclability and mono-material products, which are easier to recycle than mixed materials. Martin Haye, Axilone Group Strategy & Development Director, outlines the company’s strategy.
Does working to reduce packaging’s impact on the environment require specific expertise?
In order to offer solutions that are ever more respectful of the environment, one must be a real expert in the field and apply this expertise to the sustainability issue. This is precisely why we have strengthened our ability to innovate sustainably by appointing a project leader who is fully devoted to the challenge, by conducting multiple training sessions for our teams and partners about this vast yet highly specialized issue, and by actively participating in several well-known sustainability initiatives, including Spice(1), Elipso, Ecovadis, CDP(2), and More(3).
How is Axilone a key partner in this field?
Our main asset is our ability to combine expertise in materials — an area in which our group has become a pioneer — with expertise in products, particularly in complex added-value products. This combination is at the heart of the work done by our Innovation team. Our multidisciplinary and cross-departmental team is currently working on several solutions, including preparing products for recycling. This is how we fulfill our role as a key partner and support our clients in their efforts to become more sustainable.
What does Axilone Group offer to meet this pressing need for recyclability?
Upstream, we offer support in ecodesign, keeping the four “Rs” in mind: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink.
In this ecodesign process, our dual expertise — in metal and plastics — is complemented by a vertically integrated production system. We are involved from the design phase and the production of tooling to the surface treatments of finished products. With a wealth of multimaterial knowledge, Axilone is able to make complex pieces while guaranteeing that the product will work both on a technical and aesthetic level. Incidentally, our technical expertise has resulted in several patented solutions and enables us to offer our clients materials that can be processed by existing recycling facilities.
This is how we systematically integrate the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into our expertise.
How do you ensure that the recyclability of your packaging is indeed an effective CSR strategy?
We can be sure of this because we work on all steps in the complete life cycle of our products. We are technically prepared to manufacture with recycled materials, but these materials won’t be available unless the packs—from which the recycled materials can be derived—are themselves recyclable. So we’ve focused on the end of life of the product, when it either enters into the circular economy model or not, and when it will or will not supply this model with recycled materials.
Alongside this, we perform complete LCAs(4) on many of our products and we now know that monomaterial packaging can be an effective way to reduce environmental impact. A pack made with 100% aluminum has a level of recyclability that can reduce its environmental impact by 40% with respect to other types of packaging. This is not a negligible amount. We also continue to work on other stages in the life of our products. While no solutions can be ruled out, it is essential that we immediately push for the monomaterial solution.
How has this become a strategy in itself for Axilone?
The monomaterial strategy addresses two needs, of which first and foremost are environmental concerns. With this type of proposition, we can make a joint effort and contribute to resource preservation. It also represents a means for the group to diversify. Thanks to this longterm endeavor in R&D, Axilone is developing a sustainable strategy to expand its portfolio of monomaterial products: from lipsticks and compacts to other skincare and fragrance containers. By combining monomaterial production with other solutions, like refillability, for example, we’re helping our clients optimize their products for reduced environmental impact.