Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Naturally-Sourced and Petroleum-Based Glycols Commonly Used in Personal Care Products

R. Pacheco, K. Huston

Glycols, including 1,3-butylene glycol (1,3-BG), play an important role in the development of personal care products,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 ingredientscontinues to grow, consumers have become increasingly concerned about the ingredient sources and manufacturingprocesses involved with making their products, including consideration of an ingredient’s lifecycle impact and overallnatural and sustainability attributes. To address these concerns, Genomatica has conducted a systematic study, called alife cycle assessment (LCA), on the environmental impact of the production process they’ve developed for their naturally-sourced, bio-based 1,3-BG (known as Brontide™), as compared with a petroleum-based alternative. The results showthat conventional 1,3-BG production processes starting from petroleum-based feedstocks have a significantly higherglobal warming potential (103% greater) and energy demand from non-renewable resources (85% greater) relativeto the bio-based process used to make Brontide from renewable plant-based feedstocks. The results of this study willhelp personal care and cosmetics formulators choose ingredients that have a reduced environmental impact while alsoaddressing their customers’ increasing desire for more natural products, helping manufacturers work toward a moresustainable future.


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