Striving to deliver products with a low environmental impact, Kao is engaged in research following the “4Rs”: reduce, replace, reuse, and recycle.
Product packaging has the important role of protecting contents during transportation, preserving product quality, and conveying usage instructions as well as warnings.
To create product packaging with a low environmental impact, Kao is engaged in research following the 4Rs: reduce, replace, reuse, and recycle.
Reduce: Kao aims to make bottles as thin and lightweight as possible without sacrificing strength and ease of use. Additionally, concentrating products makes packaging smaller and more compact, while also reducing the amount of raw materials that are used.
Replace: Kao is shifting from using petroleum-derived resin to renewable plastics such as plant-based polyethylene for caps, labels, bottles, etc., which also contributes to having a lower environmental impact.
Reuse: Kao has developed refillable containers and reusable parts to replace those that would ordinarily wind up becoming trash. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in waste production.
Recycle: Kao is moving forward with the introduction and use of recycled materials such as recycled paper and resin.
Kao introduced its first refillable products in 1991. The number increases each year, and 326 refillable products had been released as of December 2019. Since 1997, the sales percentage of refillable products has been rapidly increasing. At present, refillable items account for over 80 percent of all Kao products. As a result of the proliferation of refillable products and reusable parts, in addition to making both products and their packaging more compact, the amount of plastic used has been reduced by approximately 74%.
Seeking to be more environmentally sensitive and offer greater ease of use, Kao released the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill for high viscosity products in 2016. Not only is the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill easy for anyone to use, it reduces CO2 emissions generated throughout the manufacturing, use, and disposal stages by about 80% compared to coutainer in the case of haircare products.
Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill (left) vs. previous refill packaging (right)
To expand the range of uses for the Raku-raku Eco Pack Refill, Kao has developed the Smart Holder for shampoo and body wash. Refill packs can be placed in and used directly from the Smart Holder, thus removing the need to transfer liquid to a different container and saving time. The reusable holder comes with a specially designed pump dispenser that ensures every last drop of liquid can be extracted.
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