Posted on October 29, 2009 by Dennis Salazar

Unilever and Axe Deodorant Three Pack Win Globe Guard Eco Consistency Award

While recently shopping at a club store, I found myself intrigued by a sharp looking three pack of Axe dry deodorant. The three tubes of product were not in the boring, traditional 1 X 3 or 3 X 1 multi-pack configuration which has become the norm. The products were staggered, which made them stand out in the personal care aisle.

First Impressions Can Be Deceiving and Greener than Expected

Green Packaging: Axe and You Shall Receive

Green Packaging: Axe and You Shall Receive

My first reaction was positive on the aesthetics of the package but I immediately assumed they had accomplished the staggered look with some type of pre-molded blister card or clam shell. I am not a big fan of either packaging style because though they are usually high on appearance, they tend to be low on my sustainability scale. The board and film used are fused together making them virtually impossible to separate. Even if I can get the darn package open, which is often a huge challenge, the packaging waste is almost always destined for a land fill because it cannot be easily segregated for easy sorting and recycling

Long Time Green Packaging Problem and Favorite Subject

I have carried on a long term personal war against the “one material” myth. There are green activists who insist that any packaging solution must feature a single substrate, material or component to be considered sustainable and green. I wrote about this almost two years ago in an article featured on Sustainable Is Good and in a word, my response is baloney. Baloney by the way is never a “one material” hunger solution. Much like hot dogs, the less we know about the composition, the better.

Take it Home and Check it Out

Upon closer inspection, I realized this Axe plastic and board combination was not at all a blister or clam shell but some type of fold over design and thanks to the well laid out perforations on the back of the card, it looked like it would be easy to open and recycle. Fascinated by the package and a deep desire to smell younger than my eighty-six year old father, I took the package home where I could conduct my own packaging autopsy.

The eco message printed on the board portion of the package design indicated it was “recyclable”. That is good but not great. Great would have been if they used some PCW content and spelled that out on the package. The message also showed a #1 recycle logo and on the bottom of the well designed footer for shelf display you could see the clear tray is made of PET.

Yes, But Is It “Globe Guard Eco Consistency Award” Worthy?

So far we are talking good packaging but does it truly merit our prestigious though still underappreciated award? What I found out was that the easy open perforations that initially caught my eye, did indeed work as promised. The package opened up easily without the use of power tools and allowed the removal of the products. What is most important, with little additional effort the PET molded tray easily popped out of the paperboard card, permitting the tray it to be recycled “anywhere facilities exist”

At a time when so much packaging struggles to walk the line between security and sustainability, it is good to see Unilever able to accomplish both without use of unusual techniques or materials.

Congratulations Unilever for a job well done as well as a much deserved Globe Guard Eco Consistency award.