New recycled plastic bottles with a smaller carbon footprint

As a pioneer in Finland, Kiilto has developed a recycled plastic bottle for professional cleaning products. The idea is originated from a desire to offer not only eco-labelled products, but also a more nature-friendly packaging choice for customers.

As a pioneer in Finland, Kiilto has collaborated with a packaging manufacturer to develop a recycled plastic bottle for professional cleaning products. Packaging materials have a large impact on the size of a product’s carbon footprint. In the development of the new recycled plastic bottle, Kiilto challenged the packaging manufacturer to think about nature first, but without compromising on user safety or the shelf life of the product.

Tiina Laurén, Kiilto’s solution manager for Professional Cleaning, says that the idea of recycled plastic packaging for professional cleaning products started with a desire to offer not only eco-labelled products, but also a more nature-friendly packaging choice for customers.

“Kiilto’s professional cleaning products have carried the Nordic Swan Ecolabel for a long time, and environmental friendliness has always been one of the guiding factors in product development”.

A natural continuation of products with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel are Kiilto’s Natura products, which are made from plant-based raw materials. Plant-based raw materials have been used in products before, but products made entirely from them are a clear step towards better solutions from an environmental perspective.“Now that we are launching a recycled plastic bottle onto the market, it seems natural to offer Kiilto’s Natura products in recycled plastic bottles first, so that we are clearly enabling more environmentally friendly choices. Kiilto’s Natura products have the Nordic Swan Ecolabel and the allergy label of the Finnish Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation, which indicate user-friendly and environmentally safe but still effective products”.

Recycled material poses challenges to solve

Bottles made of recycled material are still relatively rare in the field of professional cleaning, and the limited availability of recycled plastic of adequate quality poses its own challenges. There were also some surprises during the development process. Kiilto’s product development department had time to test different types of recycled plastic, but due to high demand and the varying availability of recycled plastic, the recycled material selected for the bottles at the ordering stage was no longer available.

“The chemistry of professional cleaning products imposes special requirements on packaging. Packaging must be not only safe for users, but must also ensure that the product stores well. Fortunately, during the development process, we gained experience with different options, and we were able to start testing the second recycled plastic quality more quickly”, Laurén says of the challenges faced in the process.

Positive first reactions

Detergents are usually packaged in polyethylene packaging. Polyethylene is produced from crude oil, which is a challenge for sustainable development as it is a non-renewable resource. Recycling plastic is one of many ways to reduce the environmental burden. The first professional cleaning products in the new, recycled plastic bottles have also been welcomed by customers. Customers appreciate Kiilto’s positive action to protect the environment.

“The new recycled plastic bottle is slightly different in colour than the old packaging. The colour comes from the different colours of the recycled plastic packaging used in the manufacture of the bottles. The different colour of the bottle has also been well received, and is seen as a clear sign of the reuse of plastic”, Laurén says.

All the bottles are manufactured in Finland, and the aim is to increase the amount of packaging made from recycled plastic in more and more products in the future.

Kiilto wants to be a leader in taking consumption in a more sustainable direction, and recycled plastic bottles are a concrete investment in the circular economy. The development work is part of Kiilto’s promise to the environment, whereby green packaging and a positive environmental impact form the basis of all our packaging choices. Kiilto has set itself the goal that by 2025, some 70 per cent of all its packaging materials will be reusable, renewable or contain recycled material.