Great products begin with great materials.
Much of our innovation work and many of our goals reflect our desire to continually improve the sustainability of the materials we use. To verify that we are progressing toward our goals to increase the renewable and recycled content of our materials and reduce virgin plastic inputs, we monitor these parameters closely. To continue our long, proud tradition of sharing the details of our sustainability work, we provide a wealth of data on the changing make-up of our materials in this report.
In 2010, our materials use increased about 4% — somewhat less than the 11% increase in sales. Most exciting is the 68% increase in renewable content (content derived from plants not petroleum) in the past year for our surfactants, reflecting the break-through work of our R&D team in improving many of our laundry and dishwashing products. This translates to more than 1,500 metric tons of surfactants (cleaning agents) that are now plant-based, instead of coming from petroleum.
Our work to concentrate some of our water-based products is reflected in the slight decrease in water use despite higher sales in the relevant product categories. Excluding water, about 63% of our materials are renewable and about 31% are of recycled origin.