Posted by Barry Silverstein on August 12, 2010 04:00 PM
Add Procter & Gamble to the list of companies pitching "sustainable packaging" — a buzz term that has become in vogue with big brands lately.
Coca-Cola, for example, long criticized for its disposable packaging, now uses a "PlantBottle" manufactured from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30% plant-based materials, which makes it 100% recyclable. The bottle has been endorsed by conservation groups. Puma, after weighing its options, decided it will replace shoeboxes with plastic bags by the end of the year.
P&G, for its part, announced today that it will use renewable, sustainable, sugarcane-derived plastic for certain packaging applications on three of its leading brands: Covergirl, Max Factor, and Pantene Pro-V. Its new packaging is sustainable because it is made from a renewable resource, unlike traditional plastic, which is made from non-renewable petroleum.
According to P&G, the new material is created through a process that transforms sugarcane into high-density polyethylene plastic that is 100% recyclable in existing municipal recycling facilities. The sugarcane will be sourced from sustainably-grown Brazilian sugarcane.
P&G will roll out a global pilot program over the next two years. The first products with the new packaging are expected to be on store shelves in 2011.
P&G has been involved in sustainability packaging initiatives with some of its other brands.
For Olay, the company moved from unwieldy plastic clam shell packaging to trapped blister-based designs, saving millions of pounds of plastic packaging. Olay's Total Effects moisturizing line is introducing a new pump design expected to save 800,000 pounds of plastic a year. For Braun electric razors, P&G added Smart Plugs, which use 64% less energy than standard electric razors. The energy saved by one Smart Plug on standby for a year is enough to power a 60-watt light bulb for six days and nights.
P&G says the new sugarcane-derived plastic came out of talking to women shoppers, who told P&G "they want to make themselves more beautiful without making their environment less beautiful," according to Gina Drosos, Group President, Global P&G Beauty. "With this new packaging innovation, women can have confidence that their favorite brands are helping to make a difference."