8 Jul
2011

New Method Green Pouch packaging for Refills

Posted by Norman F

method cleaner plastic pouch

Method has a new way of packaging refill products such as their foaming hand wash refill and their laundry detergent, and dish soap. They use a pouch with easy pour spout that they claim uses 83% less footprint than a rigid plastic bottle.  It uses less plastic, energy, and water. Refills are in widespread use in Europe, where they are more green and landfills are as plentiful.

The pouch itself is a stock pouch from Winpack International, so more vendors may start using this packaging. Consumers can save money by purchasing refills, while companies can actually make more money. Less fuel is utilized transporting packaging and essentially water. Concentrated refills save even more money, and just require the addition of water.

It will take some time for consumers to accept refilling. Hand pump soaps are one area in which refills have gained acceptance.

Recycling Refill Pouches

Now is this pouch recyclable? NO! There was no recycling information or plastic number on their pouch. Method states:

Question
Is the hand wash refill pouch recyclable?
Answer
Great question! We put a lot of thought into this packaging, so we’re glad to see it getting some attention.First off: this pouch design is not recyclable in US recycling systems, although it is in some other countries in the world. It may seem counterintuitive that a non-recyclable package is more eco-friendly, which is the reason we thought about this option for so long.

An ecological impact calculation was performed on several packaging options by a Swiss company (Migros) that makes food products. It concluded that the pouch had one seventh the ecological impact than an equivalent-volume PET bottle even if this bottle was assumed to be recycled 80% of the time. Given that US recycling rates are far lower than this, the degree of favorability is even higher. The reason for this is that the packaging weight of the pouch is drastically lower than for the PET bottle, with the result that all of the material, water, air and energy inputs in the production, manufacturing process, transportation, usage and retail are scaled down significantly for the pouch.

The pouch is the resoundingly preferable packaging option; however, it is clearly not perfect. The ideal solution would be a version of the pouch that is recyclable. method is currently pursuing this option and hopes to eventually replace the current pouch.

Update: TerraCycle is now providing recycling services for these types of pouches. It is a pain to send them in, but it is available nonetheless.

Windex is now selling concentrated refill pouches for their glass cleaner. They state it uses 90% less plastic than a 26 ounce bottle, it saves transporting about 1.5 pounds of water, and possibly most important, saves the customer one dollar.

Posted on July 8th, 2011
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2 Responses to “New Method Green Pouch packaging for Refills”

  1. Nicole Says:

    Method refills are now recyclable. to find out more go to Terracycle.net. You would really be shocked if you researched all of the stuff you throw in the recycling bin that normal recycling centers throw out, like the tops of bottles. You have to send these to a special center. But when in doubt, I suppose it’s better for them to throw it out and say I tried than not at all.

  2. Terracycle? Method’s solution to recycling | Small Change Says:

    […] I did a quick google search and found my answer. This answer can no longer be directly found on Method’s website, but this blog quoted Method with this: […]

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