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Visionary: Concentrating on a greener future

Visionary: Concentrating on a greener future
Mini refills

Kelly SemaruThe cleaning products category has refocused its attention recently on cleaning up its relationship with consumers as they express concerns about product and packaging waste, and about the safety of chemicals they bring into their homes.

Kelly Semrau, svp, CSO at SC Johnson, talks with Packaging Digest about some of the company's bold steps and its strategy for the future.


Q: What is the most pressing problem in packaging today and why? And how do you think it should be solved?
As an industry, we need to make it easier for consumers to make greener choices. We know they want to do the right thing when it comes to the environment, but it's important to give consumers easy and convenient options. 

Packaging reduction through the use of concentrates is one small way to reduce waste. However, one of the biggest challenges is that data suggests that U.S. consumers prefer pre-filled products—so many stores won't stock concentrates. In 2011, SC Johnson took a bold step to help consumers make greener choices by launching the Windex Mini concentrated refill pouch, available online in SC Johnson's Green Choices Marketplace. Compared to buying a whole new trigger bottle, the use of concentrated refills requires less packaging, decreases shipping impacts and reduces waste. 

The response to the Windex Mini concentrated refill was tremendous. In response, we worked to extend the concentrated line to four additional popular cleaning brands: Scrubbing Bubbles, fantastik, Pledge and Shout. The SC Johnson concentrated cleaners offer trusted cleaning products in a concentrated formula while still providing the same powerful results.

Smart Twist

Q: What are some of the most exciting packaging projects you've been involved in?
In addition to launching our concentrated line, I'm excited to continue adding new product offerings to the Green Choices Marketplace. In fact, this spring we're launching an innovative cleaning tool called the Smart Twist System. Smart Twist allows users to clean their entire house with three trusted cleaners in one device. The product is customizable; consumers simply fill the unit with water and select their choice of three cartridges from SC Johnson's most trusted brands: Windex, fantastik, Scrubbing Bubbles, Pledge and Shout Carpet. In addition to making cleaning faster and easier through product innovation, Smart Twist brings environmental benefits by helping to reduce landfill waste as it contains 64 percent less plastic than a single 26 fl oz bottle.


Q: Where do you see the industry headed in the next decade/century?
Marrying sustainable packaging with innovative product development is paramount. At SC Johnson, we continue to look at ways to expand our overall green product offerings, while also working to make more products using renewable energy. 

Recently, we commissioned two new wind turbines at our largest manufacturing facility, Waxdale in Mt. Pleasant, WI, in December 2012. The addition of the turbines mean that products made at this facility, such as Scrubbing Bubbles and Windex, are now made using clean energy. 

From our manufacturing process, to our packaging, to how we run our factories, SC Johnson is committed to working to do what's right for people, the planet and generations to come and we encourage others to do the same. 


When less packaging is more

Established in1886, SC Johnson—A Family Company—sells its products in more than 70 countries. Although perhaps best known for its cleaning and household products such as Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Ziploc and Glade, the company also owns familiar brands in shoe care, auto care and pest control: Kiwi, Grand Prix, OFF! and Raid.


1975 — The company phases out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).


2002 — SC Johnson stops using chlorine-bleached paperboard and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its packaging.


2008 — An eye-catching pouch for SC Johnson's Ziploc Brand of storage bags that replaces a paperboard carton and offers easy-open features wins Gold in Environmental/Sustainability Achievement in the 2009 Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards from the Flexible Packaging Assn.


2009 — SC Johnson voluntarily provides full ingredient information on the labels of its home cleaning and air care products. The initiative leads the industry in product ingredient responsibility and transparency.

2010 — Packaging for Glade jar candles is made with a minimum of 35-percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) paperboard which replaces the previous plastic packaging.


2011 — The company sets new five-year waste-reduction goals: Increase RCR content across product packaging to 30 percent; decrease packaging across product lines by 5 percent and offset 30 percent of virgin material through partnerships.

SC Johnson launches Windex Mini, a concentrated refill pouch that uses 90 percent less plastic packaging than a traditional 26-fl-oz trigger bottle. It earns a 2012 Better Homes and Gardens Best New Product Award in the All Purpose Cleaner category.


Mini refills


2012 — The Mini concentrated refill line expands to include fantastik, Scrubbling Bubbles, Pledge and Shout, as well as Windex, in mini recyclable HDPE bottles, which consumers say are easier to pour.


The company powers up two wind turbines at its largest manufacturing plant in Racine, WI, to further reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

SC Johnson's newest aerosol production line, which uses innovative compressed gas technology to make Glade and Pledge aerosol products, reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by approximately six million pounds in its first year of operation.

Windex Touch Up

2013 — The SC Johnson Smart Twist Cleaning System allows users to clean more efficiently and effectively by choosing three of their five favorite trusted cleaners to dock in one simple, lightweight sprayer. Concentrated cleaner cartridges include Windex, fantastik, Scrubbing Bubbles, Pledge and Shout.


SC Johnson introduces Windex Touch-Up Cleaner in a bottle designed to "stay out near the action where people need it most." Consumers simply push down on the pump to apply the formula onto a paper towel or clean sponge and then wipe the surface clean. 



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