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A Marriage of Beauty and Environmental Awareness
2009 Year In Review

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A Marriage of Beauty and Environmental Awareness

Cosmetics designer Urban Decay is the authority on products that are beautiful, unusual and crueltyfree. This trend-setting cosmetics company was on the prowl for a backdrop for its products’ display in Sephora stores that would reflect the brand’s appeal to “anyone who relishes her individuality and dares to express it.”

Their mission was to find an unusual material that was also environmentally-friendly. Acrilex Inc., a leading producer of acrylic products and capabilities headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, had just the solution, an acrylic sheet embedded with natural mica that has a very natural- looking texture. The material had the stylish, slightly edgy look that Urban Decay was seeking. With an ecofriendly production process that takes advantage of recycling at every step, it also responds to Urban Decay’s environmentally responsible philosophy.

Finding the Perfect Match

Urban Decay sought out Acrilex to find a more organic and natural look to tie in with their efforts for cruelty-free, recyclable and environmentally-friendly products, says Dan Rustin, Marketing Manager at Acrilex. The cosmeceutical company found what they were looking for after spotting a sample of Acrilex’s Mineral Series, which is a cast acrylic sheet which encapsulates muscovite mica.

Urban Decay was searching for an unusual material that is also environmentally-friendly. They believed Acrilex had exactly what they wanted with their Mica line, which is what appeared to be beautiful pieces of cut glass mixed in. Purple is Urban Decay’s signature color, and they worked directly with Acrilex to create a custom purple acrylic sheet.

The custom-designed product retail store display backdrop created by Acrilex fits in well with the firm’s environmental efforts. Rustin said, “We work with the manufacturer to create a brand identity and to have a physical representation of how they want the product to be presented in packaging or displays or in fixturing.”

The Best in Customization

“Custom colors, textures and designs are something we do on a regular basis for our customers,” Rustin told his contacts at Urban Decay. But the customization used on the Urban Decay project took on an especially collaborative approach.

“We as the manufacturers were able to work directly with Urban Decay’s designers,” Rustin said. “Their designers were really the product developers for Acrilex. All we did was facilitate what they envisioned. It was about being flexible and completely available to Urban Decay, to allow them to produce the acrylic sheet they wanted to have produced, to represent their company, their brand and embrace all of their beliefs. We were just the vehicle by which it happened.”

Acrilex’s Acriglas Mineral Series

Acrilex’s Acriglas® Minerals series line of acrylic sheets used for Urban Decay is composed of approximately 20 percent genuine muscovite mica flakes, a naturally occurring mineral. The Minerals series as a whole is a greener acrylic sheet option, and is ideally used for creating beautiful, functional and environmentally-friendly cosmetic displays and retail store fixtures.

The Minerals series is made by encapsulating the muscovite mica flakes in an acrylic matrix, transforming the natural raw material into a machineable, formable and weather-resistant product. It is available in a wide variety of colors, but in this instance Acrilex matched Urban Decay’s Pantone purple.

Green Initiatives

Different qualities are valued in each industry depending on the clientele, the consumer preferences and the image a company is trying to convey. When dealing with the cosmeceuticals industry, many companies have histories steeped in a tradition of environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free practices while maintaining aesthetic appeal. “By using the natural mica material we were able to offer a more environmentally friendly option than some of our other products, which are made from virgin acrylic resin,” Rustin said . Urban Decay’s acrylic sheets are made up of approximately 80 percent virgin resin and 20 percent recycled mica. In addition, Acrilex makes a concerted effort to work with the recyclable materials, recycle acrylic scraps produced in their own manufacturing processes, and always keep environmentally-sound practices at the forefront of all of their work. Regardless of what the end product is going to look like in an aesthetic sense, ensuring that the company itself doesn’t emit anything harmful into the environment is a priority.

“We make sure that we reuse anything and everything we possibly can reuse. Anything that would be considered a waste product ultimately becomes recycled so in that sense, we just ordinarily follow environmentally- friendly practices,” R ustin said. “However, when we are designing a new product with a client they may have specific requests that they prefer to have reused materials incorporated within their product. That will affect the aesthetics, as it did with the natural mica materials we created for Urban Decay.”

Acrilex made sure that green practices were implemented at many different levels when manufacturing Urban Decay’s acrylic sheets. To reduce the addition of more acrylic resin in the acrylic sheet product, Acrilex chose a more environmentally friendly product to begin with in the form of the natural mica and then reused that existent product. Additionally, any scrap that was generated in the process is now being sent out to the scrap-after market for recycling and reuse. In essence, this means that all by-products of the manufacturing process for Urban Decay’s displays will be recycled. Acrilex had already implemented a variety of green processes and initiatives, which were used in the production of Urban Decay’s acrylic sheets. Newly installed additional thermostats in the building better regulate energy consumption. “We’re improving how we manage our own processes in terms of energy consumption and have actually reduced energy consumption internally. This was evident in the production of the Urban Decay acrylic sheets as well as in all of our other products,” Rustin said.

Looking Forward to a Bright Green Future for Purple

This project was the first time Urban Decay worked with Acrilex, but they are looking forward to many more major projects with them in the future. Everything incorporates Urban Decay’s mantra, “feminine, dangerous and fun,” and the custom acrylic sheets produced by Acrilex embrace all these characteristics.

While Urban Decay’s beauty products may be called dangerous, using Acrilex acrylic sheets is the safest way to be environmentally responsible when it comes to cosmeceutical displays.

For more information, con tact Dan Rustin, Acrilex, Inc., 230 Culver Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07305, 800-222-4680, Fax: 201-333-1237, E-mail:, Web:

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