Innisfree eco-friendly paper bottle turns out to be plastic

Thanks to the increasing awareness of environmental issues, more and more companies have been getting onboard the eco-friendly train and pushing out measures to reduce their carbon footprint.

But this has also led to the practice of “greenwashing” – falsely marketing products as eco-friendly to increase sales. On 6th April, Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum Paper Bottle was discovered to be a plastic bottle with a paper exterior, sparking public outrage over the alleged case of false advertising.

Korean netizen reveals that the bottle is made of plastic

Innisfree has long had an eco-friendly image, and they’re no stranger to green packaging that aims to cut down on plastic use. Last year, the brand launched a limited edition eco-friendly paper bottle version of their best-selling Green Tea Seed Serum.

innisfree paper bottle - green tea seed serum
Image credit: @innisfreeofficial

After realising that Innisfree’s eco-friendly Green Tea Seed Serum Paper Bottle was actually made of plastic underneath its paper exterior, a Facebook user by the name of Park Yeong-seon expressed her shock and anger in a post in the Facebook group “I Can Live Well Without Plastic”.

innisfree paper bottle - green tea seed serum
Image credit: 박영선

In her post, she wrote that she was curious about the inside of the bottle and decided to cut it open. After doing so, she was shocked to find out that the bottle was not made of paper despite the label, which says “HELLO I’M PAPER BOTTLE”. 

innisfree paper bottle - label removed
Image credit: 박영선

Turns out, it’s actually a plastic bottle wrapped in paper.

Korean netizens express their outrage

Park Yeong-seon’s post garnered a lot of attention, and many netizens were appalled by the revelation. 

innisfree paper bottle - netizens express outrage
Image adapted from: 박영선

Netizens left comments such as “How can it be…” and “Heol! It really makes no sense!” under Park Yeong-seon’s post.

innisfree paper bottle - netizen feels betrayed
Image adapted from: 박영선

One netizen, who is still using the product, expressed that he felt betrayed by the brand and said that he bought the product because he thought that it was eco-friendly.

innisfree paper bottle - netizen explains
Image adapted from: 박영선

A netizen who read the description of the Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum Paper Bottle mentioned that Innisfree did indicate that the bottle is made of plastic, and the company reduced plastic usage by 51.8% for the packaging of the product.

Innisfree responds

innisfree paper bottle - green tea seed serum
Image credit: @innisfreeofficial

In response to the increasing public outrage against the Green Tea Seed Serum Paper Bottle, Innisfree released a statement to clarify the issue.

On 8th April, Innisfree explained that they used the phrase “PAPER BOTTLE” to refer to the paper label covering the bottle. The company apologised and admitted that they overlooked how the packaging can be misleading for consumers.

Innisfree emphasised that the bottle is indeed recyclable and eco-friendly.

On their website, it’s stated that the label has to be removed before recycling, and you have to recycle the label and the bottle separately. The bottle is made with 51.8% less plastic compared to the one used for the standard 160ml Green Tea Seed Serum bottle.

innisfree paper bottle - how to recycle
Image credit: @innisfreeofficial

On 19th August 2020, Innisfree uploaded an Instagram post to introduce the Green Tea Seed Serum Paper Bottle and explain how to recycle the product. 

This was preceded by a video, dated 16th August 2020, demonstrating how to remove the paper shell from the plastic bottle.

Limitations of paper packaging for liquid products

Paper packaging is more biodegradable than plastic. But the paper packaging used for liquid products has to be waterproof-coated before it can be used to store liquid. The waterproof coating renders the paper non-recyclable

innisfree paper bottle - amorepacific paper tubes
Image credit: Amorepacific

However, Amorepacific, the company that owns Innisfree, seems to have found a solution to that problem. On 12th March, Amorepacific announced that they have developed eco-friendly paper containers that reduce about 70% of plastic use compared to previous containers.

Hopefully, Amorepacific will use this new technology to change the current packaging for the paper bottle version of their Green Tea Seed Serum. 

Innisfree’s paper bottle a cautionary tale against misleading marketing

It’s great to know that many companies are making the effort to develop new technology that can reduce plastic usage and carbon footprint. However, to protect yourself from being misled by advertisements, even if that’s not the intention of the company, we recommend reading the fine print of eco-friendly products and doing some research before buying

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Cover image adapted from: @innisfreesingapore and 박영선

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