New Soap, Old Bottle: Repackaging Name Brand Cleaners

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By Jonathan Bardelline, April 14, 2009
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New Soap, Old Bottle, a company created by designer, concept artist and inventor Scott Amron, looks like a page right out of Terracycle’s business plan.

The company sells hand soap, dish soap, glass and all-purpose cleaner, windshield wiper fluid and car wash concentrate in reused plastic and glass bottles. I’ll let the company speak for itself:
Each bottle is cleaned, sanitized and processed for reuse as packaging for your favorite brand of liquid soap.

Big companies aren’t going to do this on their own. So we’ll do it for them. We buy name brand liquid soap by the barrel and package it in old bottles here in America.
The site mentions products from a number of name brands, including SoftSoap, Windex, 409, Dawn and Palmolive. “My goal with New Soap is to make it easy for companies to offer their products packaged in old bottles, giving the consumer a greener option,” Amron said via email. “We don’t make our own soap or cleaners.”

The cleaners mostly come in 20 ounce bottles, with prices ranging from $2.90 for refills in old beer bottles (right) to $4.60 for hand soap

New Soap, Old Bottle also sells spray, pump and squeeze tops to encourage people to reuse their own used bottles, and the company is looking for old bottles to buy and reuse.

UPDATE: The company is also looking to expand its greener cleaner offerings, Amron said via email. “We also feel that all-natural liquid soaps and cleaners packaged in old bottles should also be offered. So, we’re looking to buy all-natural soaps and cleaners by the barrel from established eco-manufacturers such as Seventh Generation,” he said.

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Tue, 04/14/2009 – 12:54 – Anonymous
Great idea, but…
Putting household cleaners and windshield wiper fluid in what looks like a pop bottle should be a concern for parents. I am still for this idea, but as always, teach/warn your kids appropriately. Otherwise the next press for this company might not be good news.

Tue, 04/14/2009 – 13:19 – Anonymous
Home Depot customers *will* try to drink products sold in the plumbing isle.

Mon, 04/20/2009 – 09:07 – Anonymous
Bottle reuse
I’m wondering what the complete comparative life-cycle analysis data looks like for this idea. I worked for a company that considered doing this but after analyzing the transportation and washing impacts we determined that new bottles, readily-recyclable, produced with high quantities of recycled content, we determined that the net sustainability benefits were, minimal (if at all). Certainly this will vary by location, product type and the assumtions in the underlying data. I’m concerned about initiatives that seem like an improvement at first glance may, after a full life-cycle evaluation, really be sub-optimal for the larger system.

Just a thought.

Wed, 04/22/2009 – 07:30 – Anonymous
awesomely awesome.
I think this is an awesome idea. Not only is it practical, its very cute! I think that it would appeal to many young individuals that may think their lives are too fast paced to live green/recycle.

As with any household cleaner, you should keep products out of reach of young children. I don’t think that the type of bottle used is really that big of an issue. Flashy packaging, cartoon-ish characters and fun smells also attract children. You don’t really hear too much in the media about children scarfing down scrubbing bubbles for breakfast.

Wed, 04/22/2009 – 14:36 – Anonymous
This makes sense. Nice to see creativity merge with a good cause in such an effective way.