As the blog mentioned in the past, there's no doubt that the green trend is very much prevalent within the cleaning chemicals market although they prefer to call it more as sustainability. Within my first day at the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) meeting held in Florida, a sustainability wall postered with consumer product goods and chemical companies profiling their sustainability agenda for the cleaning market, greeted my arrival when I registered for the event.
Based on several interviews this week, one theme is always remarked upon: sustainability within the cleaning market is here to stay for the long run with the chemical industry as it's backbone.
Dow Chemical, which rolled out its second generation biodegradable surfactants this week for hard surface cleaning products (e.g. kitchen cleaners) remarked that without the chemical industry, consumers will not be able to get sustainable, eco-friendly and cost-conscious cleaning products that really works.
"When you see these companies launching these types of products such as Clorox's GreenWorks or Church & Dwight's concentrated Arm & Hammer Essentials Cleaner and Degreaser, you have to assume that chemical companies are behind them working to make these things happen," says a Dow official.
Chemical companies such as US-based Dow, France-based Rhodia and France-based Evonik all noted the increasing customer demand last year for more sustainable cleaning chemicals without the previous trade-offs in performance that is usually associated with "green cleaners."
"It has to be eco-friendly, cost competitive to traditional brands, and has comparative or even better performance or else consumers will not buy them," another chemical company official remarked.
An official from Evonik noted the increasing drive of major consumer product goods (CPG) companies toward compacted and more concentrated laundry detergents not only in packaging but in detergent forms such as tablets or gels. Dow Chemical said that those types take serious chemical reformulations to make them work.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) officials agreed on that statement and recalled the busted launched of their detergent tablet offerings several years ago in the US.
Interests in compacted detergents have risen back because of its lesser carbon footprint - less packaging, less water use, and more energy-efficient in production and transportation, but now with the same or improved performance compared to their bulkier counterparts.
P&G said they have already saved between 25% and 40% of the packaging that they used (depending on the detergent type) when they moved all of their liquid laundry detergents in the US and Europe to compacted forms. This was made possible by serious chemical reformulation.
So I hope environmental activists can give the chemical industry some breaks and maybe even a little recognition that without them, people will not be able to maintain their health, good hygiene and cleanliness and be eco-friendly at the same time.