Canadian Packaging

Molded-fiber bottles fuel generation gap

Seventh Generation uses paper bottles for retail liquid laundry detergents.


June 26, 2012
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Sustainable packaging solutions may not at first provide a perfect match for every product’ needs, but with little faith and innovation they can often turn an entire product category on its head.

Which is how it’s been for Seventh Generation, Burlington, Vt.-headquartered manufacturer of all-natural liquid laundry detergents, dishwash liquids and household cleaners that has successfully employed innovative, breakthrough molded-fiber bottles to sell its products to green-minded consumers in the U.S. and Canada.

Produced by the Oakland, Ca.-based Ecologic Brands, headed by Canadian-born founder and chief executive officer Julie Corbett, the 1.47-liter bottles of the company’s 4X concentrated laundry soap are quickly becoming a bestseller at a growing number of leading Canadian retailers—including Loblaws, Fortino’s, Zehrs, Canadian Tire, Zellers, Metro and London Drugs.

“It really seemed like an absurd idea to put laundry detergent in a paper bottle, but absurd ideas often bring innovation to the forefront, and we really do consider ourselves to be innovators at Seventh Generation,” says the company’s director of packaging Peter Swaine. “We have experienced record sales for this new product and packaging in Canada.”

Available in 32-, 50- and 64-ounce sizes, the so-call eco.bottle line of containers introduced by Ecologic Brand in 2008 can also be used to package a wide array of other consumer liquid and dry food-grade products, according to Corbett.

“Our goal is to give consumers and brands a choice when it comes to packaging,” she says.

“There are hundreds of brands of liquid laundry detergent, but only one viable packaging option, plastic, until now,” Corbett says. “The demand for our bottles from brands around the world has been humbling, and it and confirms the need for differentiated and more sustainable packaging options.

“We aim to replace rigid plastic and glass bottles in laundry detergent, home cleaning, dairy and juice, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and many other product categories.

“The possibilities are endless and we are approached almost daily with new requests,” says Corbett, adding that switching to the eco.bottle packaging last year helped Seventh Generation 4X laundry detergent to become one of 10 bestselling detergents in the natural grocery channel in the U.S.

“The Ecologic Brands bottles accommodate a range of film substrates and fitments suitable for various categories, including food and beverages, household cleaning products, health-and-beauty, nutraceuticals, chemicals, and even milk and powders,” Corbett adds, citing a recent in-store test at a Whole Foods outlet in Oakland that saw the sales of  Straus Family Creamery’s organic nonfat milk soar by 72 per cent within a year of switching to eco.bottle containers.