Livingcap – a company based in Breganze, in the heart of Vicenza’s wine and olive country – is the spin-off of Labrenta, an Italian group whose presence extends to a number of countries around the globe and that has been in the beverage and food closure business for over 50 years, boasting extensive know-how in the field of natural materials.
Livingcap is certainly not short of technology, expertise and know-how in the packaging department and so it was that the business decided to venture into the glamorous world of fragrances and cosmetics. The beauty sector has been won over by the innovative nature of Livingcap’s offerings and, above all, by the company’s philosophy, which hinges on sustainability.
Green innovation – based on ongoing research into new bio-based, recyclable and biodegradable materials and cemented by collaboration with the Mixcycling start-up – is teamed with an elegant, pared-back aesthetic. A match made in heaven that has turned Livingcap into one of the upcoming businesses to watch in the cosmetic packaging field.
Here to tell us about what the business is up to today and, above all, what its future projects are, is Alessia Zanin, Livingcap Sales Director.
What prompted you to make the leap from the beverage industry – a sector you have extensive experience in – into cosmetics?
The affinity between the two industries.
Our business initially focused on the beverage sector, cultivating a sincere love of design, nature and of local, all the while retaining a sense of excitement and unbridled curiosity towards new sectors of business, which have often ended up on our doorstep, asking for our collaboration and taking advantage of our know-how to develop custom designs.
And so, a few years ago, we decided to put the expertise we’ve gained in the food industry to work in the world of cosmetics and fragrances, too, extending our development and production of custom packaging components made from natural and environmentally sustainable materials to cater to the needs of these new markets.
What is Livingcap’s mission?
Livingcap’s purpose is to give ideas shape, body and a natural essence; to make design elements – whether they be solutions for the food world or for cosmetics or for fragrances – exciting and sustainable.
Livingcap can be a one-stop shop for the customer’s project. Can you explain, in greater detail, what services you offer?
We handle all stages of product development, from design through to the finished product. We handle the feasibility study for the idea and its design; the selection of sustainable materials and, where required, the development of Mixcycling® materials tailored to the customer’s specifications; we oversee the item’s production and help customers in communicating the project’s sustainability.
On request, we can also provide a full design and conception service for both the blends and products, overseeing the production process from start to finish.
You’ve been a Benefit Corporation since last June. What urged you to go down this path?
It was the natural culmination of a sustainability journey we embarked on some time ago. From an environmental point of view, our philosophy and our behaviour were already in line with what you’d expect from a benefit corporation: from the design of items through to the implementation of various sustainability measures in the production process (such as the use of renewable energy, choosing electrical machinery and green packaging), from the selection of environmentally friendly materials to the choice of partners who share our philosophy and our values.
When it comes to the local community – Breganze and its wonderful hills – we’re looking into various projects: in terms of nature, there are various green areas and trails worth developing.
Our town’s secondary schools are another cause worthy of our support: we’d love to help our young people experience the world of work first hand, sharing our experience, opening our doors for work placements, and providing teachers with our support.
And then, of course, there’s us and our team. Over the coming years, our mission will be to focus on making the workplace a sustainable and positive environment, where each member of the team is free to develop their potential to the full and put their skills to the test.
Still on the sustainability front, is it true that you use green materials, like cork, wood…? Can you tell us about your collaboration with the start-up Mixcycling: what’s it about?
From the early days when Livingcap was focused on beverage packaging, cork and wood accounted for a significant portion of our designs, and continue to play a key role, though in a more innovative and sustainable form, in part thanks to our partnership with Mixcycling.
Mixcycling – a start-up whose objective is to give waste a new life – uses our production waste, cork and wood microgranules (FSC certified), to develop innovative blends: Mixcycling® Sughera and Mixcycling® Lignum.
These are truly sustainable materials for various reasons: they turn waste into a usable material and give it a new lease of life; they reduce the use of non-renewable resources; and they lower environmental impact considerably.
To cite an actual example, LCA analysis has shown that the Mixcycling® Lignum PPR material – comprising 40% wood waste – reduces carbon footprint (greenhouse emissions) by 73%, decreases the amount of highly pollutant photochemical oxidants (e.g. nitrogen oxides) by 71%, and cuts down the use of non-renewable resources (-77%).
Livingcap chooses Mixcycling® materials to develop unique, truly sustainable premium design packaging components that embrace the natural in spirit and appearance, that wonderfully engage all the senses and make the user experience one of a kind.
And it doesn’t stop there. Packaging made with these materials is a perfect example of the application of circular design!
How does Livingcap apply the concept of design and circular economy?
You hear people talking about circular economy all the time, often using jargon that’s so technical it’s practically incomprehensible.
Generally speaking, the circular economy is defined as an economic system designed to reuse materials in subsequent production cycles, reducing waste to a minimum.
How do we, here at Livingcap, contribute to this system?
We like to explain things with simple examples, which reflect our clear and down-to-earth way of doing things.
Rice is a case in point: Italy is the biggest producer in Europe, with crops spread across roughly 220 thousand hectares. An operation that generates a huge amount of waste: 200 kg of husks – the grain’s outer covering – are produced for every 1 tonne of white rice.
Our partner Mixcycling srl, using a patented process, incorporates the waste by-product and gives it a second life in the Mixcycling® LOLLA blend. Our Livingcap team uses the material to develop packaging components for cosmetics that, in turn, may have rice as one of their formulation’s main ingredients. This brings us full circle. The cosmetic product will be stored in packaging that contains its own waste by-product. In a sustainable and environmentally compatible way.
The beauty of this process is that it could potentially be a viable proposition for any other waste from the cosmetic and food supply chain, adapted accordingly, with considerable benefits for both people and the planet.
Will you be attending any shows or events in 2021/2022?
After an almost two-year absence from the event scene, we’re delighted to say we now have a packed calendar, starting this autumn.
On 5 October, we’ll be at Packaging Première Collection – PAC Edition, an exclusive event dedicated to premium products for the packaging of cosmetics and perfumes, fine food, wine & spirits, fashion, accessories and jewellery. In October, we will also be attending Beauty World Middle East in Dubai, an important opportunity to get into the Middle Eastern, African and Asian markets. In January, we’ll be flying to Paris for the Paris PCD and then, in May, we’ll be taking part in the first edition of the Milan PCD. This is what we already have planned, but we’re sure there will be other events to add to our 2022 calendar!
Livingcap is looking forward to seeing you at Packaging Premiere, 5the October, Booth 15