Wednesday, October 15, 2008

does size matter?

...Well, bottle size, that is! Rider Thompson, over on Sustainable Is Good, has a great article on the new Arm & Hammer essential cleaners. Wha? Hold up, Nathan. This is a method blog! I know, I know. Bear with me for a moment.

Check out that pic above. What you get is one full-sized empty cleaning bottle, and a small concentrate bottle. Do you see how small that bottle is? Oh, let's let Rider explain it better:

"Arm & Hammer recently launched Arm & Hammer Essentials Cleaners a new line of household cleaning products available in three formulations and smart packaging.

The new products are sold with an empty sprayer bottle made of #1 PET plastic with a bottle of concentrated cleaner attached in a smaller #2 HDPE plastic bottle.

The consumer fills the spray bottle and then affixes the smaller bottle to the top and their special cap system releases the cleaning solution into the spray bottle. The system Arm & Hammer has devised for this product is ingenious it works flawlessly - well done.

By selling the cleaners as concentrates Arm & Hammer makes a significant reduction in packaging waste and carbon footprint related to transportation of the products. The company says their packaging uses 93% less plastic and 83% less packaging than a standard pre-filled 32 oz. cleaner.

I had a chance to try the Cleaner & Degreaser from the line on a glass top stove. The product was easy to prepare just fill up the spray bottle and attach the cleaning solution and it mixes together...

...The different cleaners are all color coded so a consumer who purchased several different ones from the line can easily tell them apart - very smart product design."

+

Whoa! Ok, no, I'm not telling you to run out and buy Arm & Hammer. (Shame on you!) But could you not see this working so well for method! This seems very forward thinking, and isn't method all about some forward thinking? It's very similar to selling the aroma pills, or daily shower spray. Except instead of purchasing a larger bottle of shower spray refill, you would purchase this small bottle of refill concentrate. Thereby saving lots of shelf space in the retail store, AND saving plastic, and water (and gasoline, and the environment, and...!)

I do think the first bottle you'd purchase could be full (unlike Arm & Hammer's, where the full sized bottle is empty.) And then for all future purchases, you'd just buy the concentrates! (Until your bottle wore out.)

Now I'll be the first to say, I always think "I don't want my cleaner to be made with Greensboro, NC water! Blah!" But I filter my water, ok? So I bet my water would be just as great as San Francisco water, er, or where ever method gets it's water. It's a mentality thing, that I think I could overcome easily. You're buying their great cleaning concentrate, when you really think about it. Water is just a carrier.

So, what are your thoughts? Couldn't you just see all these concentrates sitting on store shelves, like aroma pill refills. AND I think with all the shelf space saved, this might allow method to play around with additional fragrances! Giving us even more selection to choose from! Comment away!

9 comments:

James said...

I'm glad this is being discussed. I know yesterday we were talking about how they should expand their products but I also think method can continue to reduce packaging on their products.

Some examples:
The sweeper pads for the omop, though environmentally friendly, are a bit excessive. Couldn't we just use a broom (i know it's more fun with method but..) and not waste energy to produce the cloth pads and the packaging for them? On that note: I think a partnership with Michael Graves would be great to produce things like brooms using sustainable/renewable materials. Or just manufacture a broom that looks to pair with the omop (one with that distinctive white plastic oval handle).

I think the packaging for the aroma pills is a bit exessive too.

I also wish method would make more refill products. They've made progress on the hand soap...but there are so many other cleaning products that I would love to see large refill containers available to consumers to reduce waste.

So I of course will continue to buy method...but I hope they see there is still much progress to be made in package reduction and refills for products.

/end of rant :)

James said...

Hmm or what about dispensing machines at the store so we can bring in our method bottles and just fill 'em up with method goodness. That would be the ultimate eco-friendly move :) I wonder what kind of retail disaster that would be. I love the thought of it though!

kaoticorchid said...

I've wanted refills for the all purpose sprays for awhile now, and I think that the concentrated pill idea is a great one! Although I'm sure they'd have to figure out a way that it would not be breaking the arm and hammer copyrights on the idea (we all know if they were smart, they would have gotten a copyright for every part of that system). Yay for less packaging!

Karin said...

The problem with method's refill system is that not every store offers the refills...and therefore, if I need more of a product and can't find the refill...then guess what - I have to buy another bottle.

For instance, I had to buy two full bottles of the shower spray before I ever saw the refill bottle. I hated to do it, but I needed more shower spray. My Targets are seriously lacking in the refill department...and forget-about-it with Whole Foods and Safeway!

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

I've seen these and I really must say I love the idea of this!

Nathan Aaron said...

If you take a look around online, you'll notice there are quite a few refill concentrate cleaning sprays out there. Most are not Big Brand names, though. So I don't think method would have any problem when it came to copyrights and such. Perhaps on HOW it's done, but not the overall idea. And I bet they'd come up with some snappy idea that would be all method!

James, I use my omop for sweeping all my floors, I usually just push the "big stuff" around, into a pile, as I sweep. Then go back with my tiny hand vac and suck it all up. Not necessarily even needing a straight up broom. (Though hey, what if they added some lightweight velcro bristle attachment you could put on your omop, so it acted just like a broom. OOH, idea! Ding ding!)

And you should have seen the aroma pill packaging BEFORE. It was plastic, and had a cardboard insert, and such. So they've improved! I think the little cardboard thing that goes over the bottle tops could go (is that still in there? It's been a while, I'm poor ALL the time! So sad, Nathan. So sad.) So I don't know what else could go, it's just the cardboard box and the two plastic lids that keep the oil in the bottle.

James said...

Yes, I meant to mention the little cardboard thing that goes over the bottle top. So unnecessary! But I was referring to the actual kit where you get the aroma pill plug in adapter and it's always placed in this huge plastic thing within the cardboard. Just seems like they could eliminate the plastic.

On a side note...I just ran to my local grocer (Schnucks). I was there a few weeks back and discovered they had method stuff...and better yet, they had hollyberry (yes, 10 months out of season lol). So I snagged all of the handsoap but didn't get the candles. I went back today for the candles and they were gone! But...they were replaced with the squeaky green laundry stuff. I thought I'd dig the rice and mallow scent but just didn't get into it. But I LOVE the new dryer sheets. They packaging is sooooo cute.

Anyway, back on topic. I wish they'd make the detergent for 64 loads to reduce plastic. While the dryer sheets are in a very minimal package, I do wish they'd go on and increase the quantity in those as well. In fact, I think they should have them correspond to the detergent. 64 load detergent and packages of 64 dryer sheets instead of the current package of 40.

James said...

Oh, I should've mentioned I realize they have some of the older detergent scents in the 64 load size but doesn't seem like they've made that move for the squeaky green line. Too bad! :(

And Nathan...love the Omop broom attachment idea!

melanemac said...

I have meaning to post something on the concentrate refills. There are more than just arm & hammer refills concentrates out there and you just buy the little concentrate bottle out there. Saves water, shelf space, costs, list goes on and on.

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