Aerosols, sustainable development, what are the challenges in this market?

« The choice of propellant, the physico-chemical characteristics of the molecule and the control of greenhouse gases, for example, represent major challenges for companies specialising in the formulation and contract packaging of aerosols, without forgetting the key factor, price  »


This new dynamic, initially imposed by the regulations in force, is awakening a collective awareness of the need for responsible management of propellants.


In order to guide its customers towards low environmental impact systems, AEROLUB, the French specialist in aerosol contract packaging, is adapting its strategy to meet both the technical and regulatory constraints and the requirements of its customers.


For more than 40 years, AEROLUB has been offering global solutions for aerosol packaging and has built up its experience in the industrial maintenance, automotive and heavy industry sectors, as well as in the hygiene community and, more recently, the cosmetics and food sectors. With a turnover of 14.5 million euros and 5.5 million aerosols produced in 2020, this company is constantly developing its activity in a rapidly changing market.


For many years, the flammability criterion was a key issue for this company. With the introduction of new regulations such as F-Gas and CLP, the company has adapted its offer and now distributes non-flammable gases (HFO 1234ze; CO2 ; N2O ; N2) and flammable gases (butane, propane, DME) as well as pocket aerosols and pump systems.


AEROLUB was a pioneer in introducing the HFO 1234ze molecule to the market to replace the widely used HFC 134a in aerosols : « The switch from HFC 134a to HFO 1234ze was very difficult at the beginning, because of the big price difference. It took a long time, but we succeeded. Today, we bring in as many tonnes per month of 1234ze as we did of 134a ten years ago. The pricing challenge ultimately became an opportunity, we believed in the product and had a head start in bringing the new substance to market » Mr Fery, Managing Director of AEROLUB, proudly reports.


However, HFO 1234ze packaging only reaches a part of this specialist’s clients. 12 years ago, AEROLUB invested in a new production tool in Chaumont en Vexin to package flammable gases, in order to remain competitive on price. This investment is now bearing fruit and allows the packager to position itself on markets such as insecticides, where safety constraints are adapted and price is a criterion favoured by the customer.


To reduce the carbon footprint, compressed air technology can be used as a substitute for gas but remains very limited in terms of applications. « Today, these pocket aerosols are being developed in particular in the field of cosmetics (refreshing mists, skin oils, etc.) but are not always suitable. For most brands, non-wetting active ingredients are often required, which is not compatible with this technology » explained the interviewee.


AEROLUB is also developing a « green » range, biodegradable between 70 and 100%. These products contain no or very few VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and are neither irritating nor dangerous for the environment. From a technical point of view, it is not easy to manage because these products generally evaporate less quickly, have more odours and take longer to be effective. This still remains very marginal in terms of sales.


Technological developments are therefore expected to create a real synergy between environmental commitments and customer specifications.


R&D work is heading in this direction but the change in aerosol consumption habits is often strongly linked to the regulations in force.










« Many customers; professionals mainly, are not yet ready to pay more for a product that is just as effective, but with non-flammable properties and a more sustainable formulation. But it is slowly coming to the private sector » 


concludes the Director of AEROLUB.