Many marketing strategies of personal care companies promote the use of ecofriendly and biologically derived ingredients in cosmetic products.
Ecological considerations need to be addressed when developing new detergents for the evolving industry. There are several organizations providing eco-labeling on the market (Ecocert, Cosmos, NATRUE, BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics) and it must be understood which requirements are set by the different organizations to provide a cleaning and disinfection product that complies with the relevant regulation.
Solvents are still used in the cleaning of cosmetic products. Converting to a water-based detergent is the first step to improving the ecological footprint of the cleaning procedure. Worker safety is also improved by this replacement.
Chelants and surfactants are the main ingredients within a detergent formulation that are influencing the ecological footprint.
Traditionally, to deal with cosmetic products with high amounts of mineral components, EDTA (Tetrasodium salt of Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) has been used as a component of detergents. EDTA is a substance that persists for a long time in the environment. A major concern of EDTA is that it contributes to heavy metal bioavailability and remobilization processes in the environment.5
Alternatively, the use of phosphonates within formulations to replace EDTA has proven to be a solution. As well as for EDTA, the biodegradability of the phosphonates is poor. They are however precipitated and removed in sewage treatment plants and the remaining residues are non-toxic for aquatic organisms. Some countries also have limitations on P (Phosphorus) contents in their sewage treatment plants. These limitations are reflected in the global usage of phosphorous compounds in detergents.
Within nature, chelation is also widespread, in the context of photosynthesis in plants and oxygen transport in animals, as an example, it is seen. A synthetic chelant has the same mode of action using nitrogen atoms in combination with oxygen, functioning as complex-forming centres. Compared to the conventional complexing agents, the very good biodegradability makes this compound an excellent alternative for use in detergents from an ecological standpoint.
The increasing sustainability considerations of the personal care industry pushes the suppliers of detergents to use surfactants with ecolabels and ideally with no or minimal amounts of GHS hazard statements on the labels. Certified surfactants help protect the environment through responsible sourcing and less waste and pollution throughout the complete lifecycle.
The challenge is formulating cleaners that are equivalent to the traditional formulations in terms of performance, all while the label has no GHS pictograms, the detergent is readily biodegradable and has a very good toxicological profile.
1.3) Process Equipment: Common challenges and requirements
As so many different products are manufactured by the personal care industry, there is also a broad variety of process equipment in this industry. The different equipment ranges from simple small parts (buckets, beaker, spoons), mixers, up to highly dedicated dissolvers and homogenizers. All have their specific challenges with regards to cleaning and disinfection because they are predominantly designed to produce specified product formulations.
In reality, many plants within the industry are still operating with non-hygienically designed equipment that creates cleaning and sanitization challenges. Some common examples are dead legs in piping, dead/shadow spots within cleaning cycles, no circulation or CIP cleaning possibilities.
For new equipment, the recommendation is to follow the EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group) guidelines on equipment.4
Within the cosmetic GMP2 today, the equipment requirements are defined in section 5: “Equipment should be suitable for the intended purpose and capable of being cleaned and, if necessary, sanitized and maintained.”
The large variety and the quick change of raw materials used in the personal care industry can be a challenge in the cleaning process, especially in case of difficult to clean formulations. The use of a great number of manufacturing equipment, some of which non-hygienically designed, can cause further inefficiencies that should be identified and solved for decreasing operational costs, downtime and for achieving the sustainability goals set by the company. These challenges can be addressed to hygiene partners like detergent suppliers that can support the manufacturer with the optimization of the cleaning procedures, recommending effective detergents suitable for the industry and in line with specific requirements (for example compliant with the standard of organizations providing natural certifications).
2. ISO 22716 / 2007, Cosmetics- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) - Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practices; REVIEW 2017
3. IFS HPC Version 2 Guideline ; December 2016 ;
4. European Hygienic Engineering & Design Groupe (EHEDG); DOC 8 – Hygienic Design Principles ; Third edition , March 2018
5. European Chemicals Bureau, European Union Risk Assessment report edetic acid EDTA PL1,49, 2004