The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Goal: Value Nature

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Our planet and its resources are precious. Having those resources available is critical to maintaining a clean world, while overuse and depletion poses major risks to every one of us. This is why we must collectively make the shift from linear “take, make, waste” processes toward a more circular economy.

Goal: Value nature by optimizing use of natural resources, advancing water stewardship and eliminating waste.

Wherever possible, we need to seek to reduce, reuse or recycle in order to avoid depleting the planet’s natural resources. At the same time, we must take action to ensure our water supply will be clean and available into the future.

Circular Packaging

For the cleaning products industry, packaging has emerged as our first priority topic for action. Cleaning product packaging is essential for the safe transportation and storage of products. It also serves as a communication tool to help people use the product safely. In accordance with the principles of a circular economy, our challenge around product packaging is to design out waste and pollution and keep materials in use, while maintaining the packaging’s essential functions.

The ambition we are striving for is for all cleaning product packaging to be circular.

Our Roadmap for getting there:

As an industry, we are committed to improving packaging design by ensuring packaging is recyclable or reusable, reducing virgin material use, and increasing post-consumer recycled (PCR) or renewably sourced content. In addition, we know we have a role to play in helping to evolve our systems of recovery.

Design cleaning product packaging for reuse or recycling, improving our Materials Circularity Index score 25% by 20251

  • Reduce the use of virgin material per dose in all cleaning product packaging by increasing PCR content, enhancing concentration and/or using less packaging.
  • Design 100% of cleaning product packaging to be recyclable2 or reusable3.

Embrace technologies to improve our Materials Circularity Index score an additional 25% by 20301

  • Further reduce the use of virgin material per dose by increasing PCR content, enhancing concentration and/or using less packaging.
  • Utilize reusable containers or other new packaging technologies and approaches.

Working with external stakeholders, evolve systems of recovery to eliminate all cleaning product packaging waste by 2040

  • Achieve a 75% recycling rate for cleaning product packaging waste by 2030.
  • Achieve 100% collection and reuse, recycling or composting of cleaning product packaging waste by 2040.
1 Baseline year 2020
2 Packaging is recyclable if it can be collected, sorted, reprocessed, and ultimately reused in manufacturing or making another item (Sustainable Packaging Coalition).
3 Packaging is reusable if it proves its ability to accomplish a minimum number of trips or rotations in a system for reuse (ISO 18603).
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  • Plastic Bank

    Several ACI members have partnered with Plastic Bank, an award-winning social enterprise that aims to help prevent plastic reaching our oceans by monetizing waste while improving lives. Plastic Bank enables plastic to be exchanged for money or items, boosting recycling, especially in areas with high levels of poverty or plastic pollution.

    Henkel initially partnered with Plastic Bank to construct three collection branches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, resulting in a total of more than 100,000 kg of certified social plastic, which Henkel uses in the production of its laundry and beauty product bottles.

    Plastic Bank partner SC Johnson has opened nine collection branches in Indonesia, including the first mobile branch, to increase recycling rates in impoverished communities. Local collectors can exchange plastic for digital currency that enables the purchase of needed goods and services with a reduced risk of loss or theft.

  • Loop

    Utilizing New Circular Approaches to Packaging

    Loop is a global circular shopping platform designed to eliminate the idea of waste by transforming the products and packaging of everyday items from single use to durable, multi-use designs. Consumers can shop for waste-free products of leading brands by paying a small, fully refundable one-time deposit to “borrow” the package. Products arrive in the specially designed Loop Tote, eliminating the need for disposable single use shipping materials like cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. Once the product has been used, empty packages go back into the Loop Tote for collection from the customer’s home. Back in the Loop system, state-of-the-art cleaning ensures the empty packaging is ready for reuse, and the circle begins again.

    A number of our members are teaming with Loop to reimagine packaging and help drive the circular economy: The Clorox Company, Colgate-Palmolive, P&G, RB, Seventh Generation and Unilever.

  • How2Recycle

    Improving Recyclability by Simplifying the Consumer Experience

    Making sure packaging can be recycled is only the first step in preventing more plastic from reaching our oceans. People need to know what can and cannot be recycled, as their decisions are critical to the success of our recycling systems. But for most of us it can be extremely confusing.

    Alongside their recyclability commitments, our members are working to be more transparent about how people can recycle their products. The How2Recycle label is transforming this by providing clear on-package labels to help all of us understand what we should be placing in the recycle bin. Among our formulator members, 35 percent have joined How2Recycle labeling, including AlEn, Church & Dwight, The Clorox Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Georgia-Pacific, Henkel, Kao Corporation, P&G, RB, SC Johnson, Seventh Generation and Unilever. ACI members The Dow Chemical Company, Eastman, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and Lonza are also supporters.

  • Global Alliances

    Joining Global Alliances to Clean Up Our World

    A number of organizations are leading the effort to tackle the problem of plastic pollution.

    The Alliance to End Plastic Waste aims to find solutions by bringing together people and organizations from across the value chain. Among these are 11 of our members: BASF, Clariant, The Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, Henkel, Milliken & CompanyMitsui Chemical, P&G, SABIC, Sasol, Shell and Veolia

    The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Commitment for a New Plastic Economy aims to eliminate problematic  or unnecessary plastic packaging and ensure 100 percent  of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled or composted by 2025. Member companies The Clorox CompanyColgate-Palmolive, Indorama, Henkel, L’Oréal, RB, SC JohnsonUnilever and Veolia are among more than 400 signatories who have already made the pledge to eradicate plastic pollution at its source.