This is an English translation of a news release in Japanese on August 19.
Kao Corporation has developed the Raku-raku Switch, which dispenses a fixed amount of liquid contents with one light push, for use with the film-type Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill, which uses less plastic compared with bottle containers (Figure 1). This packaging design reduces plastic use by approximately 50% compared with plastic bottles with a pump dispenser. The Raku-raku Switch will be launched with Bioré u The Body - Body Lotion for Wet Skin, to be released on September 19, 2020.
Development and launch of the Raku-raku Switch is one of Kao's efforts to eliminate the use of plastic bottles as part of its priority actions aimed at Innovation in Reduction, aligned with its ESG Strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan. Of the 19 Kao Actions in the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, this effort contributes to the Kao Action of "Zero waste."
The Raku-raku Switch attaches to the opening of the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill, which is made of plastic film. At the other end of the Raku-raku Switch is the dispenser spout, and in the middle is a soft, dome-shaped button. By pressing this button, a fixed amount of the liquid contents is dispensed, in the same way liquid contents are dispensed by depressing a pump (Figure 2).
Attaching the Raku-raku Switch allows the liquid contents in the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill, which was originally developed as a refill packaging and is made using a minimal amount of plastic film, to be dispensed directly by lightly pressing the button. This feature is designed with universal design principles to make the Raku-raku Switch easy to use with minimal physical effort. The design also prevents air and water from entering the pack even while the contents are being dispensed to maintain a sanitary state inside, and enables users to fully use up the liquid contents (Figure 3).
When the user presses the button on the Raku-raku Switch, a fixed amount of the liquid contents is dispensed, making it possible for the technology to replace the function of standard pump dispenser. This packaging technology offers excellent user-friendliness based on universal design and can help increase the use of film packaging that uses a minimal amount of plastic. Given this, Kao plans to study its application in a wide range of products going forward.
Kao has been striving to reduce plastic consumption to help address the problem of plastic waste, by making plastic packaging thinner, promoting the use of refill packaging, making products more concentrated and making product sizes larger. Aiming to accelerate the reduction of plastic use, more recently Kao has been developing and commercially launching innovative packaging solutions that offer both environmental performance and user friendliness. The Raku-raku Switch is its latest solution.
- In 2016, Kao commercially launched the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill, made of plastic film. Compared with bottle containers,* the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill can reduce plastic use by approximately 80%. The CO2 emissions produced in the stages from manufacturing through use and disposal are also reduced by approximately 80%. In addition, the design allows everyone to easily and completely dispense all of the contents during refilling.
- In 2017, Kao launched the Smart Holder. Using the Smart Holder in a set with the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill eliminates the need to refill a bottle container, and the Smart Holder can be used again and again. By offering the Smart Holder, Kao is promoting the widespread adoption of the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill and its minimal use of plastic.
- In April 2020, Kao commercially launched the Air-in Film Bottle, with its first use in the new brand MyKirei by KAO, now available in the United States. The Air-in Film Bottle uses three layers of film with air pockets that fill with air to create a rigid body that can stand up like a bottle. Compared with conventional plastic bottles,* the Air-in Film Bottle reduces plastic use by approximately 50%. The design also allows the liquid contents inside to be completely used up.
As the responsibility of a company that offers products used in daily life, Kao is proactively taking steps to reduce environmental impacts throughout the entire product lifecycle. Kao established its ESG Strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, in April 2019, and within it 19 Kao Action topics. The Kao Group is elevating its value of Yoki-Monozukuri (defined as "a strong commitment by all members to provide products and brands of excellent value for consumer satisfaction") that it has established in its corporate activities to date to include ESG perspectives, and is ramping up its initiatives with environmental and social considerations.
Regarding its approach to plastic packaging, Kao released "Our Philosophy & Action on Plastic Packaging" in 2018. In September 2019, it announced that it would focus on Innovation in Reduction and Innovation in Recycling to help achieve circularity of plastics in society.
Kao is reducing the total amount of plastic it uses by shifting from rigid plastic bottles to film packaging, and is advancing research and technical development with the goal of recycling used film packaging into new film packaging.
The Kao Group will continue conducting its unique ESG activities globally to deliver wholehearted satisfaction and enriched lives to people around the world, and to contribute to the sustainability of the world.
Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,000 people worldwide and has 130 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.