A popular cosmetics company has been convicted of selling a moisturizer in a bottle that the label claims is paper – with a secret plastic bottle underneath.
Innisfree’s green tea infused product is packaged in a brown cardboard casing and reads, ‘Hello, I’m a paper bottle’ on a green and white label.
But a customer who cut open the bottle quickly realized it was just a plastic container in a thin paper bowl and shared the evidence on Facebook.
Innisfree was quick to apologize for any confusion, saying it “overlooked the possibility that the naming could mislead people into thinking the entire package is paper.”
The company claims the colorless bottle is recyclable and uses half as much plastic as conventional packaging.
Scroll down for video
Innisfree’s limited edition Green Tea Seed Serum has the label “ Hello I’m Paper Bottle, ” but an online sleuth revealed that the package is really a plastic bottle with a thin paper shell.
The bottle was showcased on a Facebook group called ‘No Plastic Shopping’.
“I felt betrayed when I found out that the paper bottle product was a plastic bottle,” the post read Korean Herald reported.
The consumer filed a complaint with the Korean consumer protection authority, accusing Innisfree of ‘greenwashing’, where companies are unfairly claiming to be more environmentally friendly than they actually are.
Innisfree maintains the term ‘paper bottle’ referring to the paper label surrounding the bottle. “ We have overlooked the possibility that the naming could mislead people into thinking that the entire package is made of paper, ” he said
“I felt betrayed when I found out that the paper bottle product was a plastic bottle,” the user wrote online. They have filed a complaint with the Korean consumer protection authority
Innisfree said instructions on how to separate the paper label from the plastic bottle before recycling it is stated on the packaging. It apologized ‘for not providing information in an accurate manner’
In response to online responses to the package, Innisfree has released a statement acknowledging that the “Hello, I am Paper Bottle” label may be misleading. ‘
‘We used the term’ paper bottle ‘to explain the role of the paper label around the bottle,’ the brand said.
‘We have overlooked the possibility that the naming could mislead people into thinking that the entire package is made of paper. We apologize for not providing information accurately. ‘
According to Innisfree, the container uses 52 percent less plastic than the previous version and the cap contains 10 percent recycled plastic.
It added that directions on how to separate the paper label before recycling it is on the packaging, clearly indicating that there is plastic underneath.
There are more than 400 Innisfree stores in South Korea, as well as dozens of locations in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia. The first Innisfree store in the US opened in Manhattan in 2017.
In July 2020, Innisfree’s parent company, Amore Pacific, reformulated several product packages to be more environmentally conscious, including removing the metal spring from the Happy Bath grapfruit body wash (far left)
“Both the paper bottle and the lighter plastic container can be sorted and recycled after use,” the company said in a statement.
The consumer who posted the images told the Herald that the company’s explanation was ‘insufficient’.
“Many of those who chose the product in question tried to reduce its harmful effects on the environment,” they said. ‘I feel that [Innisfree] took advantage of them. ‘
Innisfree was launched in 2002 by Amore Pacific, South Korea’s largest cosmetics company, as an eco-friendly beauty brand.
The name is taken from the WB Yeats’ pastoral poem ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, in which he remembers the summers as a child spent on the small, uninhabited island in his homeland.
The brand promotes its all-natural products and environmental practices, including the fact that many ingredients are locally sourced on Jeju Island in Korea.
It has used the slogan ‘Clean Island – where clean nature and healthy beauty happily co-exist’.
Amore Pacifica, owner of Innisfree, Primera and dozens of other brands, has announced plans to reduce plastic packaging by 700 tons by 2022.
There are more than 400 Innisfree physical stores in South Korea, as well as dozens of locations in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Canada, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates .
The first Innisfree stores in the US opened in Manhattan in 2017.
But Inisfree has had a tough time in recent years: Profits plummeted after reaching a peak of $ 175 million in 2013, according to Statista
In 2020, the company’s operating profit was approximately $ 6.3 million, up from 55 million in 2019.
Inisfree is a subsidiary of Amore Pacific, South Korea’s largest cosmetics company, with annual sales of more than $ 4.8 billion.
Founded in Korea in 1945, Amore Pacific operates more than 30 other beauty and health brands, including Sulwhasoo, Laneige, and Mamonde.
In July 2020, Amore Pacific announced it would change several products to be more environmentally conscious, including removing a metal spring from the Happy Bath Grapefruit Essence Body Wash and using a glass container and recycled plastic cap in the Primera Super Black Seed Cold-Drop.
The company also aims to use 700 tons less plastic packaging by 2022.