PAC: Branded Package (sold in Canada) - Silver

Burt's Bees TerraSkin Soap Wrappers


The folding carton originally used for the larger soap bars was not sized properly, did not adapt well to the changing size of the bars and did not stop odor and colour loss. By switching to the new terraskin wrappers, the amount of packaging was decreased, barrier properties were improved and the better printing surface required less ink, thus an environmental win! Terraskin is a tree-free, mineral based paper alternative, with 80% of the calcium carbonate base being derived from post-industrial building material waste like limestone scraps. Tests conducted on a terraskin sample showed the paper beginning to degrade when exposed to direct sunlight and moisture after six to nine months.

Motivation for Change

The major issue driving this innovation was a desire to reduce the carbon footprint of the Burt’s Bees company. We accomplished this by decreasing the amount of packaging needed for the product and switching to an eco-friendly material.
A secondary issue was the falling efficacy of the previous packaging. The folding carton for the larger soap bars was not sized properly and was unable to adapt to the changing size of the soap bars. The carton also did not provide a sufficient barrier to stop odor and color loss. On the smaller soap bars, the previously mentioned two layers of material were required to maintain the product and prevent oils from leaching into the paper and causing discoloration of the papers.
The new TerraSkinâ packaging resulted in easier packing (machine vs. hand packing), improved barrier properties, a better printing surface that requires less ink to achieve superior graphics, and an environmental “win.”

Cost Effectiveness

The redesigned wraps allow for faster production and easier changeover on the production line. The reduction in material use led to lower freight and inventory costs. Since TerraSkin is comprised of minerals instead of fibers, there is less ink absorption and bleed, so the new wrappers reduce costs related to ink use.


There were no trade-offs to implementing the new packaging, as TerraSkin functions equally well and in many cases better than the previous packaging. TerraSkin provides resistance against tampering, tearing and scuffing, and is also water-resistant. It also improves product integrity by protecting against fragrance and color loss in the soap. Due to its inherent qualities, TerraSkin has a better printing surface and creates a product profile more in line with mainstream competitors, giving more visual appeal to customers.


TerraSkin is a tree-free, mineral-based paper alternative. No water or bleaching is used in its production, and it uses less energy in production than traditional paper. The calcium carbonate base (80%) is derived from post-industrial building material waste (e.g. limestone scraps) and the PE binder (20%) also comes from the post-industrial recycling stream. Members of our supply chain act as partners in the production of TerraSkin.

Clean Production

TerraSkin requires less energy to produce than traditional paper. It is also produced without the use of water and bleach, as Calcium Carbonate is naturally bright white. TerraSkin and its production were designed to create a cleaner, more environmentally friendly paper product and process. Our production facility is currently undergoing ISO 14001 accreditation and hopes to be certified by 2009.

Effective Recovery

The infrastructure is not currently in place, but there are two planned end-of-life scenarios for TerraSkin:

1 – Recycling. TerraSkin is infinitely recyclable. Unlike regular paper, which experiences a shortening of fibers with each recycling, TerraSkin maintains its integrity. The production facility currently recycles the TerraSkin, and once economies of scale warrant the development, we will have US recycling facilities.

2 – Degrading. Like other materials, TerraSkin needs only UV light and moisture to break down. Standard degrading times ranged from 6-9 months, although in ideal conditions (e.g. Florida) times were as short as 2 ˝ months.

See email attachment for TerraSkin degradation test

Community Benefit

The Burt’s Bees company is dedicated to consumer education. All Burt’s Bees packaging is clearly marked with material information, recycling codes, and end of use instructions. Through its packaging, website, a mobile tour, and company representatives’ conference appearances, it will continue to focus on expanding awareness of sustainable packaging options.

Resource & Energy Optimization

TerraSkin requires less energy to produce than standard pulp-based papers. Production at Burt’s Bees is also offset by wind power. TerraSkin has obtained Cradle to Cradle Certification.

Categories: PAC Award Winner Cosmetics/Personal Care Composite