Life cycle assessment of cetearyl glucoside in a cosmetic cream

  • May 21, 2013
  • 3 mins of read time

Life cycle assessment of cetearyl glucoside in a cosmetic cream

Jérôme Guilbot
2013, ISGC symposium

From surfactants to biosurfactants:

Use of surfactants in almost all cosmetic formulations, In 2010, European production dedicated to cosmetic applications 300,000 tons, 1950 - 1990: Development of a large range of surfactants based on petrochemical raw materials (alkylene oxide, olefins, sulfates, sulfonates, ammoniums, etc), 1990 - 2013: Increasing sustainability trends ? Manufacture of surfactants from natural renewable raw materials: Biosurfactants development, Sugars and Proteins Chemistry / Oleochemistry, Alkyl PolyGlycosides, LipoAminoAcids, etc, Vegetable origin, manufacturing process in compliance with the 12 rules of Green Chemistry and good toxicological and ecological profiles (skin irritation, biodegradability, daphnia / fish / algae eco-toxicities, etc), but, claiming 100% bio-based origin and compliance with Green Chemistry rules are not enough to demonstrate the sustainability of a surfactant (rising of the environmental concern of consumers), Need to go further in terms of an environmental point of view ! Identity card of the studied biosurfactant: Seppic, world leader in the emulsifying surfactants based on D-glucose for cosmetic applications ? Montanov(tm) range, Montano (tm) 68: n = 13 and 15 ; DP = 1 to 4 ; INCI name: Cetearyl alcohol and cetearyl glucoside.

Objectives of the present LCA:

(1) Assessment of the role played by the cetearyl glucosides in the sustainability of a cosmetic cream by calculation of their own environmental impacts,
(2) Identification of the improvements that could be implemented in the industrial process of the cetearyl glucosides to reduce their environmental impacts,
(3) Comparison of the environmental impacts of the cetearyl glucosides with those of surfactants with other origins (IN PROGRESS). ? FUNCTIONAL UNIT definition (a reference to which the environmental impacts are related).

Calculation & Impact categories:

impact categories:

(1) Ozone Depletion (OD): Breakdown of the stratosphere ozone layer which absorbs the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun by brominated or chlorinated chemicals (unit : kg CFC-11 eq).
(2) Global Warming (GW): Reflection of heat from the Earth back to the Earth by Green House Gases inducing climate changes (unit : kg CO2 eq).
(3) Mineral Resources (MR): Due to their increasing scarcity, energy surplus needed to extract mineral raw materials (unit : MJ).
(4) Petrochemical Resources (PR): The same as for mineral resources.
(5) ECo-toxicity (EC): Quality ecosystem changes (fauna and flora) due to emissions in water, air and soils (unit : Potentially Affected Fraction (PAF)/m2/year).
(6) ACidification / Eutrophication (AC/EU): Modification of aquatic species and plants growing because of acidic rains (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide) or increasing concentrations of nutrients (phosphate and nitrogen) (unit: Potentially Disappeared Fraction (PDF)/m2/year).
(7) Water Consumption (WC): Quantity of water needed for the process (unit : m3). Influence of the land use change on the carbon footprint of the cetearyl alcohol: 12,2 kg CO2 eq / kg of cetearyl alcohol: Quite high carbon footprint because of the drastic initial conditions: Use of non degraded lands, Repartition of the soils: 61% of primary forest / 31% of meadow / 8% of peat land. Forest and peat land use change for palm cultivation = Carbon release. Meadow use change for palm cultivation = Carbon storage.

Conclusions & Perspectives:

Comprehensive and precise picture of the Life Cycle of cetearyl glucosides with a " from cradle to grave " approach, Main Results: Predominance of the packaging and the purchasing act all over the life cycle of the cream, Limited contribution of the cetearyl glucosides. Different ways of improvement at different steps of the life cycle: By the consumers (awareness about mode of transport), By the formulators (nature of the packaging), By the fatty alcohol suppliers (requirements on the cultivation conditions (RSPO for palm derivatives)), By the glucosides manufacturers (grounds for thought: supplying modes, energy and water consumption monitoring, wastes optimization, etc). Works in Progress: LCA of " balanced " surfactant characterized by a cetearyl chain from palm kernel oil and by ethylene oxide instead of glucose, - LCA of petrochemical surfactant characterized by a synthetic cetearyl chain and by ethylene oxide instead of glucose, - LCA of other alkyl glucosides characterized by vegetable hydrocarbon chains issued from other fields than the palm one (rapeseed (C-20/22) or castor oil (C-18-OH) for instance).

Seppic, 127 Rue de la Poudrerie, 81000 Castres