Hurrah for "Packaging Pete" Swaine who engineered huge improvements to our plastic bottle packaging in 2010 — though we still have a long way to go before we have truly sustainable packaging. First, the good news. After much experimentation, the majority of our plastic bottles now contain at least 80% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content, including some of our large laundry detergent bottles — previously at 25% PCR — whose size made this work particularly difficult.
Four of our bottles contain a whopping 96% PCR. This means that all the plastic is recycled; the remaining 4% is colorant. While we are way out in front on this — the industry standard is only 25% recycled plastic content — we don't want to be using any virgin (unrecycled) plastic. We also know that only about 30% of the recyclable plastic actually gets recycled in the United States so even recyclable plastic contributes to our waste problem.
In early 2011, we unveiled a truly innovative solution. We debuted our new Natural 4X -- that means it is concentrated at quadruple strength — Laundry Detergent. It comes in a ground-breaking molded pulp bottle with a #4 plastic (low-density polyethylene) recyclable pouch inside. This extraordinary bottle has a recyclable or compostable molded pulp outer shell. It uses 66% less plastic than previous packaging delivering the same number of loads. We anticipate that this break-through will help reduce the amount of virgin plastic we use in 2011 and 2012.