Colgate-Palmolive: Softsoap® Foaming Hand Soap Tablets

The Need: There is a huge opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic entering our landfills. In 2020 alone, more than 455 million plastic liquid hand soap bottles were sold. As a brand that is found in 53 million households, Softsoap® wants to provide an easy solution to make sustainability a household habit. Softsoap’s vision is to transform refills for people and the planet by creating more convenient and sustainable refill solutions, encouraging more people to refill their hand soap with less plastic alternatives. This product bundle aims to create easier solutions for consumers that are also better for the environment.

The Solution: In July 2021, Softsoap® launched Foaming Hand Soap Tablets, an innovative hand soap solution that uses biodegradable cleansing ingredients in a tablet form to encourage more people to refill their hand soap while also providing an alternative to buying plastic bottles.  The product is simple and easy to use – Just fill the reusable and recyclable aluminum bottle with water, drop in a tablet, and wait for it to fizz up and turn into foaming hand soap. The product is offered in a starter kit (refillable aluminum bottle with 2 refill tablets) or refill kit (3 refill tablets), although the tablets can be used in any foaming hand soap decanter. The Softsoap Foaming Tablets Starter Kit uses 71% less plastic than a traditional foaming plastic soap bottle and the Softsoap Foaming Tablets Refill uses 92% less plastic than traditional hand soap refills.

What makes it particularly smart or circular? This product creates a circular economy with its reusable and recyclable aluminum bottle. After your first purchase, you only need to buy the refill itself, alleviating the need to purchase a new bottle and pump. Refill tablets can also be used in any foaming hand soap decanter, thus eliminating the need for some consumers to purchase a new bottle or pump altogether.

Results, Benefits, and Outcomes to Date: Continuing to learn about usage from consumers (via call center), online reviews and sales data from where it is being sold.

Which of the Pact’s 4 Targets does your work help achieve? Target 1 & 2

How are you communicating your success? We are continuing to explore sustainable hand soap solutions that produce effective, more convenient, and more sustainable solutions than those on the market today. We are eager to continue this journey of creating less-water and less-plastic solutions that deliver on our promise of “easy for you, good for the planet.”

Core Team, Partners, & Participants: This was a full cross-functional team effort including product development, technology implementation and support, packaging, artwork and design, insights, quality, marketing, supply chain, commercial development, customer teams, and many external and agency partners.

Time Frame: The initial concept was born in early 2020 and officially launched in July 2021.

Quote: “As a brand found in 53 million North American households, Softsoap® wants to make sustainability a household habit,” said Emily Fong Mitchell, General Manager, North America Personal Care, Colgate-Palmolive. “The launch of Softsoap® Foaming Tablets is a big step as we work to build a more sustainable, healthier future for all. Given our reach, we understand the impact of this step on the entire industry. We’re excited to be leading this change as the first major CPG brand to offer a refill option in tablet form.”

Company/Organization Information: Colgate-Palmolive / founded 1806 / New York, NY / 35,000+

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