Dr. Bronner’s exclusively uses 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) polyethylene (PET) plastic bottles for all of our liquid and pump soaps. We’ve been using 100% PCR PET bottles for more than ten years, long before this was common in the personal care industry.
By turning used plastic bottles into new plastic bottles and products, we help conserve virgin resources, reduce landfill, and capitalize on the energy already invested in making existing plastic products. Recycling one ton of PET containers saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space!
“Bottle-to-bottle” recycling, the recycling of plastic bottles into new bottles, is also uncommon. Most times the plastic picked up on curbsides is “downcycled,” shipped to countries like China, where it’s used to create synthetic fabrics for carpets and clothes, then shipped back to the United States for sale. Bottle-to-bottle recycling helps to close the loop and results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Approximately half of all our post-consumer recycled plastic bottles are made of a resin called CarbonLite, which is made from plastic sourced from curbside pick-ups in the state of California. This means that some of our bottles are made from locally-sourced 100% post-consumer recycled PET, and may even include some plastic from old Dr. Bronner’s bottles!
We also continue to keep close tabs on innovations taking place in bio-plastics research. Bio-plastics use renewable resources like plants and bacteria to create plastic that would otherwise be produced from petroleum. This technology is still in its early stages and doesn’t yet produce plastics that are resilient enough for our purposes. Also, before adopting bio-plastics we would need assurance that the plants used in production were sustainably grown and not made from pesticide-intensive GMO-corn. As of now, turning plants into plastic remains more energy intensive than recycling used plastic. Still, we have great hope for the future of this potentially industry-changing innovation.