Seventh Generation’s new line gets rid of all its plastic packaging

Good News Notes:

Seventh Generation, the cleaning product company known for its natural products, has spent years tweaking its packaging to improve sustainability, including a massive push to use more post-consumer recycled plastic. But the company is now using a different tactic, and beginning to move away from plastic completely, starting with a new line called Zero Plastic Homecare.

‘What we realized is that we really need to take action and move ourselves as a business away from plastic, because as good as the plastic is or as little you use, recycling alone will never solve the problem,’ says Seventh Generation CEO Joey Bergstein. In the U.S., according to an EPA report last year with the most recent data, only around 9.1% of plastic waste is recycled; another 15.5% is burned. The rest—26 million tons per year—ends up in landfills. That’s despite years of effort to improve recycling rates.

To eliminate plastic in the new line, the company rethought the products themselves. By using non-liquid products, the containers don’t need plastic to act as a ‘moisture barrier.’ ‘If we remove plastic from the equation, that means removing the liquid from the equation as well,’ says Joe Giallanella, who leads the company’s growth incubator, the team tasked with eliminating plastic from packaging. The new hand soap comes in a powder instead of a liquid. The dishwasher detergent comes in tablets. The new kitchen cleaner is a powder instead a spray; a foaming toilet cleaner is also a powder. They’re used differently than typical cleaning products. A powdered kitchen cleaner, for example, is sprinkled on a wet cloth and rubbed to make a lather (the cleaner can also be added to a bowl of water to make a solution, or sprinkled directly on a dirty surface).”

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