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Minimizing Packaging

Another way we're working to reduce waste is by reducing packaging, lightweighting products and using more recycled materials.

When we established our latest five-year environmental objectives, for the first time SC Johnson specifically called out waste reduction objectives related to products and their packaging. We are working to increase post-consumer recycled content across our product packaging, decrease packaging overall, and offset virgin material use through innovative partnerships and packaging advances.

Windex Concentrated RefillsNew Concentrated Refills

One example of a product advance that greatly reduces packaging is concentrated refills. American consumers buy 320 million cleaning products in trigger bottles each year, and millions of them end up in landfills. By comparison, concentrated refills use less packaging, decrease shipping impacts and reduce waste. In fact, if just 20% of those 320 million bottles were refilled rather than discarded, it could save millions of pounds of plastic..  

That's why back in July 2011, we launched an online test of Windex® Mini concentrated refill pouch. We hoped to create dialogue about the green choice concentrates can offer, and to start a concentrates revolution. And over the course of the test, we heard from more than a thousand consumers who shared comments and recommendations about the product and about concentrates in general. 

In 2012, we launched a new concentrates lineup that comes in small, easy-to-pour bottles made of the same recyclable plastic as a milk jug. We Infographic about Refillsnow sell refills for five of the company’s trusted brands: fantastik®, Pledge®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Shout® and Windex®.

Trigger bottles for almost all these brands – Windex®, fantastik®, Pledge® and Shout® – are already produced with 50% post-consumer-recycled content. The Scrubbing Bubbles® trigger bottle is made with 30%.  

Choosing to refill has an even greater positive impact:
•  Requires 79% less plastic than the standard bottles
•  Avoids transporting 19 to 23 fl. oz. of water, depending on the formula
•  The refill bottle can be recycled in most community recycling programs

In 2013, SC Johnson tested another way to try concentrates: the innovative Smart Twist™ cleaning system, which brought added convenience by automatically adding the right amount of water and keeping three cleaners in one handy sprayer. Just twist, spray and wipe – the perfect space-saving solution for busy households. The system was refillable and its cartridges were made of the same recyclable plastic as a milk jug. Our Smart Twist™ cleaning system test sold out by early 2014.

Choosing to use the Smart Twist™ cleaning system and its cartridges helped minimize waste going to landfill. The cartridges:
•  Required 63% less plastic than a new standard spray bottle
•  Avoided transporting 18.7 to 22.7 fl. oz. of water, depending on the formula
•  Could be recycled in most community recycling programs

We continue to sell our Mini concentrated refill products online at www.scjgreenchoices.com/store. Visit now to check them out!

Continuous Product Improvement

Here are a few examples of other product advances that have helped minimize waste.

Windex® Cleaners - In addition to a 2007 project that lightweighted Windex® cleaner bottles and reduced consumer waste by a million pounds annually, the bottles have long been produced using 50% post-consumer-recycled material. In 2010/11, this saved nearly two million pounds of virgin material from going into the waste stream.

Glade® Candles - A packaging change for Glade® Candles moved the product from a plastic lid and wrap to a paperboard sleeve that is 100% recycled with a minimum 35% Candle packaging changespost-consumer-recycled material. The new packaging saves more than 335,000 pounds of plastic. In addition, lightweighting of the candle jar is saving 2.6 million pounds of glass annually.

fantastik® Cleaners - The bottles used for fantastik® cleaner products have at least 30% post-consumer-recycled materials, with the transparent PET bottles including 50%. In 2010/11, this saved 543,000 pounds of virgin plastic from going into the waste stream.

Glade® Sense & Spray® - At launch, our Glade® Sense & Spray® air freshener packaging included a plastic window on the starter kit and a plastic shell around the refill. We’ve been working to lighten its packaging footprint ever since. As of July 2011, the product’s third-generation packaging had eliminated plastic and instead uses 100% recycled chipboard with a minimum 35% post-consumer-recycled material.


Every year, millions of plastic trigger bottles end up in landfills. Concentrated refills use less packaging, decrease shipping impacts and reduce waste. Small green choices can make a big difference.

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