American consumers buy 320 million cleaning products in trigger bottles each year, and millions end up in landfills. In fact, if just 20% of those 320 million bottles were refilled rather than discarded, it could save seven million pounds of plastic. But I am afraid that’s a utopia, as refilling still isn’t popular and consumers tend to buy new bottles of cleaning products with or without a trigger spray mechanism. Fortunately more and more manufacturers are entering the market with concentrated versions of their cleaning products. As concentrates use less packaging and help reduce waste.
And it isn’t only that manufacturers create concentrates, but there is a serious attempt to find eco-friendly solutions for their bottles. I selected five recent developments in household bottles to show this trend.
Ocean Plastic: Method turns pollution into packaging
Scientists estimate that several million tons of plastic make its way into the oceans every year, polluting the environment and hurting marine populations. Method, a manufacturer of eco-friendly cleaning products, created bottles made from Ocean Plastic, which is harvested by Method employees from ocean beaches.
Through this new use of recovered ocean plastic, Method says that it is demonstrating how a business can tackle environmental problems, and that there are smarter ways to make plastic than using virgin material. Nearly all of Method’s packaging is made from PCR material, which helps keep additional plastic out of landfills and oceans.
Method has launched its latest innovation in sustainable packaging: bottles made from a blend of plastic recovered from the ocean and post-consumer recycled plastic, which gives them a uniquely grey resin colour. This limited-edition packaging is for a new Method product, a two-in-one hand and dish soap,
Method partnered with recycler Envision Plastics to develop a new recycling process to make the bottles. The process allows plastics recovered from the ocean to be cleaned, blended, and then remanufactured into high-quality recycled plastic that is the same quality as virgin high-density polyethylene.
Sunshine Makers, Inc., the manufacturers of the Simple Green household cleaning products, created a more sustainable package and delivery system for their concentrated cleaning products. This new delivery system, including a proprietary bottle and new trigger technology from MeadWestvaco (MWV), is made entirely of plastic – no metals, no ceramic and with reduced resin content.
The new spray bottle, in 16-, 22-, 24- and 32-oz, provides an ergonomic, easier-to-use shape which helps relieve hand-fatigue. The bottle has the Simple Green logo embossed on the outer edge, encouraging bottle refill.
The bottle includes 25% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, while the delivery system includes a “door foamer” nozzle option as well as an all-plastic trigger that results in a lighter weight and reduced resin content. The door foamer nozzle option allows the consumer to dispense product as either a foam or a traditional liquid spray, depending upon the job at hand.
The company claims that the new trigger will eliminate more than 19 tons of resin and 10 tons of steel yearly.
Clorox Smart Tube Technology
The Clorox Company claims to have solved one of the frustrations of consumers, who had to put up with tilting and tipping to salvage that last little bit of liquid from a bottle.
Clorox therefore redesigned its cleaning-product bottles to include Smart Tube Technology with a bayonet-style trigger that allows consumers to empty a spray bottle without tilting, shaking or otherwise struggling to use the last drops. The bottles blown by Alpla and made with Smart Tube Technology feature a dip tube blown into the front of the bottle that gets all the way to the bottom of the bottle and a new all-plastic trigger. The fact that consumers can use every drop reduces about 81,000 gallons of wasted formula annually.
Besides spraying every last drop the spray bottle is not only equipped with Smart Tube Technology, but also features a new, more durable trigger from Guala Dispensing that, according to the company, provides better coverage and control and a smoother pull that makes it easier to dispense the liquid with less effort.
Using the last drop is, indeed, one of the frustrations of the consumer with thick liquid and only few have been coming up with a proper solution. Other than Clorox, the Korean designers Seonkeun Park and Jinsun Park came up with a very simple solution.
It is a general consumer frustration, that he can’t suck the last remnants of thick liquid from the bottle through the spray pump. This problem is in fact caused by the flat bottom of a bottle, leaving the sucking tube insufficiently in contact with the liquid when the bottle is nearly empty. The consumer experiences this as an annoying waste.
To avoid this everyday wastage the bottom of the Last Drop bottle, by Korean designers Seonkeun Park and Jinsun Park, is designed in a way that the finishing liquids are stored in a cone following by slopes both side where the dispenser tube can easily reach the liquid and let the user have even the last drop of liquid.
The container is a refill format and is designed in accordance to the bathroom décor and being transparent lets the user see how much liquid is left inside.
Smart Twist Cleaning System
SC Johnson introduced the Smart Twist Cleaning System, which, the company claims, uses less packaging, requiring 63% less plastic than a new standard spray bottle, and reduces waste with three concentrated cleaners in one space-saving, handy sprayer.
The Smart Twist Cleaning System can be customized by adding a choice of three concentrated cleaner cartridges into the sprayer unit so there is no more carrying multiple cleaners around the house. The consumer has to fill the water tank with tap water and screw the cap on tightly. He /she then snaps the concentrated cleaner into the carousel, twist the carousel to switch instantly between cleaners as the consumer moves from room-to-room and surface-to-surface.
Smart Twist brings added convenience by automatically adding the right amount of water for just spray and wipe surface to clean.
The cartridges are recyclable in most community programs.
Sonax glass cleaner
This transparent packaging for Sonax glass cleaner and windshield washer fluid is made of PET featuring a unique handle. The handle is an integrated component of the design, as the entire bottle is manufactured in a single production stage, using the injection stretch blow moulding process.
As a result, no additional assembly work is required. The 3-litre bottle fits perfectly in the hand, making it easy to measure and pour without spilling. An injection-moulded screw-on cap with a tamper-resistant ring made of PE is used for a cover. The package is decorated with a front and back label.
Greiner Packaging International developed the unique, round-shaped bottle in cooperation with German company Sonax. The elegant packaging is 250mm in height, and its body diameter is 225mm. The bottle is made completely of transparent plastic that offers an unrestricted view of its contents.