SC Johnson Accelerates Progress Boosting Plastic Recycling and Reuse
RACINE, Wis., October 28, 2019 /3BL Media/ - Today, SC Johnson is announcing a series of commitments to further reduce its own plastic footprint, by boosting recycled plastic content in its packaging, supporting reuse of plastic bottles through concentrated refills, and launching an effort to make Ziploc® bags recyclable at curbside.
For decades, plastic has been making lives better for people around the world. The problem of plastic pollution, however, has become a growing one with more than 30 percent of plastic waste escaping collection systems and going into the environment. Ocean plastic has reached a global crisis level, with 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year – the equivalent of one dump truck load every minute.[i] Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, witnessed this pollution himself on a dive recently in Indonesia.
“At SC Johnson, being an environmental leader has been a principle we have worked hard at for generations,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “With the increasing spotlight on the global plastic waste crisis, we wanted to share our efforts externally. We hope they inspire other companies to take similar steps toward a circular plastic economy, because the planet simply cannot sustain the status quo.”
SC Johnson has a longstanding commitment to preserving the environment and has been working to improve the sustainability and circularity of its plastic products for more than a decade. Today, SC Johnson is announcing a series of commitments in accordance with the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to reduce its own plastic footprint, and encourage reuse and recycling of plastic products:
- 100% of SC Johnson plastic packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Currently, 90 percent of SC Johnson’s plastic packaging is designed to be recyclable, reusable or compostable.
- Triple the amount of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic content in SC Johnson packaging by 2025. SC Johnson will increase its use of PCR plastic in its packaging from 10 million kilograms to more than 30 million kilograms by 2025. As part of this, SC Johnson will increase the percentage of PCR plastic that it uses in its North American and European bottles from 20 percent today to 40 percent by 2025.
- Expand the number of concentrated refill options for SC Johnson products by 2025. Since 2011, SC Johnson has been making concentrated liquid refills for its Home Cleaning trigger bottle products in the U.S. Each trigger bottle is designed to deliver 10,000 sprays so it can be refilled and reused an average of 13 times, every time avoiding a single-use alternative. The company will continue to expand its variety of concentrated refill options, enabling consumers to reuse packaging and reduce waste.
- Continue to remove excess plastics wherever possible. SC Johnson has been relentlessly focused on designing unnecessary packaging out of its products. From 2011 to 2017, the company has removed 9.5 million kilograms of materials from its packaging.
- Champion curbside recycling of plastic film. SC Johnson will continue its effort to make curbside recycling of flexible plastic film such as Ziploc® brand bags a reality in the U.S. SC Johnson is also promoting reuse of Ziploc® brand bags, which are made to be reused many times.
- Work with industry and other organizations to support circular plastic economy models. SC Johnson will work with industry and NGOs to further support the circular plastic economy and keep plastic out of landfills and the environment.
Transforming Industry: SC Johnson is Leading a Plastic Recycling Revolution
Creating a circular plastic economy isn’t just about products. It’s also about transformative change across industry. SC Johnson has spent years working with recycling industry experts to understand barriers for recycling and find solutions to overcome them.
Most recently, in 2018 the company launched Ziploc® brand recycled trash bags, proving that recycled plastic film can be diverted away from landfills and reused for valuable new items instead. The trash bags are the first made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic film collected through a U.S. recycling center.
More than a Decade of Progress Reducing Plastic Waste
Like its Greenlist™ ingredient selection program and investments to fight deforestation, the company also has a systematic approach to reducing plastic waste.
SC Johnson has relentlessly focused on designing unnecessary packaging out of its products for years. From 2011 to 2016, the company removed 8.5 million kilograms of packaging materials across its business. In 2017, it cut an additional 1 million kilograms of plastic from its product packaging.
Just as important, 90 percent of SC Johnson’s plastic packaging is designed to be recyclable or reusable. Its Home Cleaning trigger bottles – for products like Windex®, Scrubbing Bubbles® or Mr Muscle® – are designed to deliver 10,000 sprays. This means the same bottle can be refilled and reused an average of 13 times. The company has sold refills in numerous global markets for years and launched concentrated Home Cleaning refills in the U.S. since 2011.
The company’s SC Johnson Professional® products, used in settings like hospitals and hotels, also minimize waste. SC Johnson patented a reusable cleaning bottle with recyclable concentrated liquid refill cartridges. Each bottle is designed for 250,000 trigger pulls and each cartridge replaces 16 single-use bottles, on average.
SC Johnson is also hard at work to promote reuse and recycling of Ziploc® brand bags and offer compostable alternatives. 100 percent of Ziploc® brand bags and containers are reusable. Ziploc® brand bags can be reused on average 10 times and Ziploc® containers on average 30 times, depending on how they’re used. SC Johnson is further promoting innovative ways to reuse Ziploc® brand bags with imaginative ideas for activities, crafts and storage solutions that encourage reuse
The company continues its mission to make curbside recycling of used flexible plastic film a reality in the U.S. and reduce waste that enters into landfills. SC Johnson achieved an important milestone this year with the introduction of the first-ever trash bag made with 100% PCR film, including Ziploc® bags, collected through a pilot program at a U.S. recycling center. In addition, SC Johnson will expand production of Ziploc® Compostable Food Scrap bags for consumers with access to commercial compost facilities in their communities.
A Legacy of Bold Decisions
SC Johnson’s actions over the years to improve the sustainability of products has required
bold decisions. In 2004, SC Johnson eliminated PVC and PVDC from its products and packaging, including Saran® Wrap, due to concerns about the release of toxic chemicals into the environment when materials containing chlorine end up in municipal incinerators. While other companies continue to use PVDC, and the ingredient’s removal created a competitive disadvantage for the iconic Saran® Wrap brand, it was the right thing to do.
“As the fifth-generation leader of our family company, I know our job is to protect not only our business interests, but also the values on which this company was founded,” said Johnson. “When we make decisions that are for the good of people and the planet, we gain a surer sense of who we are as a company and what we want SC Johnson to represent.”
Experiencing the Ocean Plastic Issue Firsthand
A lifelong diver, Johnson recently participated in a dive with long-time NGO partner Conservation International to explore the issue firsthand in the waters off the coast of Indonesia. He was able to see the diversity of marine life, but also better understand the risks of plastic in the water and washing ashore on beaches.
“It is amazing to see firsthand the natural beauty and diversity of our oceans, and to fully appreciate what’s at stake here,” said Johnson. “I think it’s incredibly important that business, governments, civil society and people around the globe work together to solve this really important problem for humanity.”
Johnson plans to do other dives in the coming months to explore the impacts of ocean plastic on marine life.
[i] World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company,
The New Plastics Economy — Rethinking the future of plastics