The company says that Windex Mini uses 90 percent less plastic packaging than a traditional 26 fluid ounce spray bottle, and avoids the transport of 22.4 fluid ounces of water, or almost 1.5 pounds by weight.
In launching the refill, SC Johnson acknowledges up front that, according to sales data, U.S. consumers have shown a preference not to refill their household cleaning bottles. “This means stores won’t stock concentrates and companies hesitate to create them,” the company said, in a press release.
The Windex Mini launch is a test to help SC Johnson understand how to motivate consumers and retailers to buy and stock refills, the company says.
“By conservative estimates, a flexible pouch saves six times as much plastic waste that goes into a landfill compared to a traditional bottle,” said chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson. “Refilling with a concentrate is an example of a very small behavior change that could make a real difference in minimizing waste.
“But many people don’t want the inconvenience. We want to crack the code and figure out what it would take to make concentrated refills an accepted – even demanded – choice.”
The trigger bottle for Windex Original glass cleaner is already produced with 50 percent post consumer recycled content, the company noted. But if just 20 percent of the 21 million bottles of Windex Original sold each year were refilled, this could save 350,000 pounds of plastic, avoid using 175,000 pounds of virgin plastic and avoid transporting 6 million pounds of water.
SC Johnson says the launch is the culmination of a go-to-market plan that saw the company push to get the pouches to consumers in under 15 weeks. The pouches will be sold in three-packs directly from SC Johnson at www.scjgreenerchoices.com, where consumers can also post comments and critiques.
The website also includes tips on easy, environment-friendly choices, FAQs from SC Johnson about its own green practices, and a carbon calculator created in partnership with Conservation International (CI).
“We want to create an open dialogue and get feedback from consumers once they give Windex Mini concentrated refill pouch a try,” said Kelly M. Semrau, senior vice president of global corporate affairs, communication & sustainability. “We know this initial test won’t be perfect, but to create real change we need to hear what consumers want and need, and learn as we go.”
Last week SC Johnson announced that it has achieved its greenhouse gas reduction goal set through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program.
A number of major cleaning product companies have been making efforts to improve their product packaging. Last September Procter & Gamble announced plans to convert its entire U.S. and Canadian portfolio of powder laundry detergents to a new compacted formula.
Method tied for Best in Show at the Industrial Designers Society of America awards, for a new laundry detergent product that is eight times more concentrated than normal strength detergent.
And in March, Seventh Generation introduced a new liquid laundry detergent bottle made from 100 percent recycled cardboard and newspaper.