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Measuring Avant Guard’s Carbon Footprint

About Experiment

Experiment is a brand that created a reusable silicone sheet mask called Avant Guard. The mask was designed to replace disposable masks, as people could pair it with the serums they already owned and then reuse it as often as they’d like.

After launching Avant Guard, Experiment used our platform to discover ways to make the product more sustainable. Below you can learn more about what we measured to find out the carbon footprint of the product, what the results were, and how the latest version of Avant Guard stacks up against disposable sheet masks.

What we measured

At Bluebird, we look at six factors to measure the sustainability of a product. Below are the factors that presented the most area of opportunity for Avant Guard:

Degradability Icon

Materials

Transportation Icon

Transportation of materials

Transportation Icon

Transportation of the product

Below are the modifications of each factor and how they led to a reduced carbon footprint.

Reducing Avant Guard’s Carbon Footprint

Materials Icon

Materials and product design

Since the mask is a lightweight product, the materials that go into it are an important component for sustainability. In this case, the materials for the mask itself (silicone) were not able to be changed — but the materials for the packaging could be changed.

The Avant Guard masks come in a pouch that was originally made of PET and laminate. The pouch had no recyclable materials. Now, the pouch is made of three different types of lower impact plastic that all have recycled content.

Results

The pouch for the Avant Guard mask decreased its carbon footprint by about 1 gCO2e, which is effectively the same.  This is further explained in the “Total Carbon Reduction for AG 2.0” section below.

Transportation Icon

Transportation of the product and materials

As important as materials are, the distances the materials travel along the supply chain can be a significant contributor to a product’s carbon footprint. Therefore, transportation became a major area of focus for Experiment’s second version of the mask.

For the first version of the Avant Guard mask, the packaging was being sourced in the US and shipped to China. Then the mask was made in China and packaged into the pouch before being shipped back to the US.

Experiment decided to then move its manufacturing to the US. That meant the packaging could still be sourced in the US, but no longer have to be shipped to China. It also meant that the mask could be made and packaged into the pouch in the US as well. Overall, this reduced the miles traveled in the supply chain by 13,676 miles (87%).

Results

Changing the transportation of the materials and product decreased Avant Guard’s carbon footprint by 364 gCO2e, a huge reduction of 78 percent from the previous version.

Overall Carbon Reduction for Avant Guard 2.0

Modifying the packaging materials and the transportation locations of the materials and product led to a 78 percent reduction of Avant Guard’s carbon footprint. That’s equal to 54,799 miles driven in a passenger car or 3.3 flights around the world.

But there were still some tradeoffs to be made, as is always the case with working on a product’s sustainability.  In the case of Avant Guard, the material for the second version of the mask stayed the same as the first version. That meant the component manufacturing also had to remain the same. Plus, changes to make the mask more functional made it slightly heavier, increasing its waste footprint from 23 grams to 24 grams.

Tradeoffs aside, the steps taken led to a significant reduction in the product’s carbon footprint. Avant Guard 1.0 needed to be used four times to equal the impact of a single-use sheet mask. The newest version only needs to be used once to do this.

Carbon Impact

Waste Impact

Avant Guard 1.0

466 gCO2e

23g

Avant Guard 2.0

101 gCO2e

24g

Sustainability Impact

↓ 78% less carbon

↑ 3.6 % more waste

Determining How Avant Guard 2.0 Measures Up Against Single-Use Sheet Masks

Although moving from the first to second version of Avant Guard had a huge impact on the product’s carbon footprint, things get even more interesting when comparing the second version of Avant Guard to single-use sheet masks. In this case, there are huge differences in the reduction in waste as well.

After 10 uses of Avant Guard 2.0

Carbon impact

Plastic waste impact

Avant Guard 2.0

198gCO2e

33g

10 Disposable Sheet Masks

1,475gCO2e

70g

Sustainability Impact

↓ 87% less carbon

↓ 53% less plastic waste

After one year of using Avant Guard 2.0

Carbon impact

Plastic waste impact

104 Biweekly Uses of Avant Guard 2.0

1,102gCO2e

116g

104 Disposable Sheet Masks

15,240gCO2e

728g

Sustainability Impact

↓ 93% less carbon

↓ 84% less plastic waste

In short, the longer someone uses Avant Guard instead of single-use disposable sheet masks, the greater the reduction of the product’s carbon and waste footprint.

Benchmarking Data for Single-Use Sheet Masks

When comparing Avant Guard to a single-use sheet mask, we have to consider how the product will be used. A single-use sheet mask comes pre-coated with a serum, and Avant Guard is intended to be paired with a serum for use.

In order to make a fair, apples-to-apples comparison, Experiment included the footprint of the serum paired with Avant Guard into the footprint of Avant Guard. Bluebird’s benchmark database of industry averages was used to calculate the footprint of the serum, which the data showed would most likely be 30mL of product, packaged in a moisturizer bottle with a pump or in a glass bottle with a dropper top, and then packaged in a small paperboard box. Location of manufacturing, transportation type, and other supply chain details were also defined based on industry averages.

In order to account for using the product over time (either one time, 10 times, or over the course of  a year), Bluebird’s platform included the number of bottles of serum needed to pair with Avant Guard for those uses, with the assumption that a 30mL bottle contains 40 doses of serum.

The single-use sheet mask benchmark is a mask made of viscose (the most common material on the market for a single-use sheet mask),  pre-coated with a moisturizer, and packaged in a plastic tearable pouch. Similar to the serum, the supply chain details were based on industry averages.

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