We recognize our company’s impact on the environment, and we strive to minimize it through continuous, incremental improvement. One of those improvements was being an early adopter of flexible packaging for our hero product, New Wash. The reduction of plastic used, CO2 emitted, and energy consumed was significant. But we’ve taken our packaging one step further.
This is the story of one company’s search for more sustainable solutions to packaging beauty products.
First, there were bottles.
Once upon a time, New Wash was sold in traditional, rigid, plastic bottles. Yes, they were recyclable – and of a material (Polyethylene) and color (white) preferred by recycling companies. But what set New Wash apart wasn’t its container, but what it contained: A cleanser that also conditions, making the traditional shampoo companion of conditioner unnecessary.
Our customers who embraced washing the New way were able to reduce their packaging consumption by half when using one product rather than 2 – or even more when they could also retire detanglers, serums, and such. Many people gladly did so while also saving significant amounts of money as their showers became less and less cluttered with the usual suspects.
(+) Customer plastic use was cut by half.
(+) The bottle was the type and color preferred by recyclers.
Then came the pouch.
Offering refillable containers for our products was our intention from day one. We started by introducing flexible pouches for New Wash in its larger sizes to decant into reusable aluminum bottles: 20 ounces for the New Wash super-fan at home, and a waste-saving 32-ounce size for professional use at the shampoo station – an area usually teeming with huge plastic jugs of shampoos and conditioners.
(+) Customer plastic use was cut by 87%.
(-) 8-ounce sizes were still packaged in rigid bottles
New Wash Rich led the pack.
Our most moisturizing formula, New Wash Rich, frustrated its fans who struggled to get such a thick creme out of its bottle, especially that last helping or two; it was just too rich! Necessity spurred invention, and we took a cue from Rich’s big sisters; an 8-ounce pouch soon made its debut in the New Wash lineup.
The bottle’s days were numbered.
(+) Plastic use and CO2 emissions cut even further.
(-) Despite all their advantages, pouches made of various materials were not recyclable.
We went big – and small.
Buoyed by their many benefits, we phased in pouches at both ends of the size spectrum across all formulas. 8-ounce pouches replaced bottles for personal use and a whopping 64-ounce pouch provisioned the busy hairdresser. Both 20- and 32-ounce sizes became available at retail to all customers, signaling a new and virtuous direction for our hero product.
(+) Plastic use and CO2 emissions were dramatically reduced.
(-) Pouches were still unrecyclable.
The new, new way
Today, all New Wash products are available in [drumroll please] fully recyclable LLDPE (Linear Low-Density Polyethylene) pouches – with only one layer of material between customers and their New Wash. In addition, we made them slightly smaller to reduce the plastic content and to make them feel softer and more manageable in hand. They are also made in Canada rather than China, which means a sizeable reduction in transportation emissions to our US-based manufacturers.
This new standard for New Wash will phase into our inventory beginning in October. It will take time for it to replace all of our inventory in several warehouses; Some customers have already experienced the difference, and eventually, all will be able to reduce their trash destined for landfills.
(+) Plastic, energy, water use, and CO2 emissions plummet even further.
(+) Pouches are now a single layer of fully recyclable plastic!
Yes, it’s still plastic. It’s the best option we have at this stage for packaging that is compatible with our type of products, but that’s the great thing about evolution; it never stops. Neither will we.
You might be asking, “Great. But what about your styling products’ packaging?” Good question. The answer is that we’re working on it and testing refill options. Stay tuned; our customers (we hope you’re one) and their hairdressers will be the first to know.
How to Recycle New Wash Pouches
When you’ve squeezed out every last drop out of your pouch, slice it open and rinse well before placing it in your recycling bin. Easy.