Petroleum-based personal care raw material has significantly higher global warming potential

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A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of naturally-sourced and petroleum-based glycols commonly used in personal care products demonstrates that conventional 1,3-BG production processes starting from petroleum-based feedstocks have a significantly higher global warming potential (103% greater) and energy demand from non-renewable resources (85% greater) relative to the bio-based process used to make 1,3-BG from renewable plant-based feedstocks.

Glycols, including 1,3-butylene glycol (1,3-BG), play an important role in the development of personal care products, including creams, sunscreens, shampoos, body washes and more. As concern about petroleum-based ingredients continues to grow, consumers have become increasingly concerned about the ingredient sources and manufacturing processes involved with making their products, including consideration of an ingredient’s lifecycle impact and overall natural and sustainability attributes. To address these concerns, R. Pacheco, K. Huston from Genomatica, USA conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA), on the environmental impact of the production process they’ve developed for their naturally- sourced, bio-based 1,3-BG as compared with a petroleum-based alternative. The results show that conventional 1,3-BG production processes starting from petroleum-based feedstocks have a significantly higher global warming potential (103% greater) and energy demand from non-renewable resources (85% greater) relative to the bio-based process used to make 1,3-BG from renewable plant-based feedstocks. The results of this study will help personal care and cosmetics formulators choose ingredients that have a reduced environmental impact while also addressing their customers’ increasing desire for more natural products, helping manufacturers work toward a more sustainable future.

The complete article has been published in SOFW Journal 11/18 | Volume 144 | Thannhausen, Germany, November 15, 2018. www.sofw.com

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