NEW LOW-WASTE POUCH PACKAGING REACHES STORES

Want to save money and help the environment too? Come Oct. 1 you can cut your trash with an innovative container made of ultra-thin flexible plastic.

With only a quarter the bulk of regular packaging, the Smart Pack Refill replenishes heavy-duty containers you would normally toss away when the bottle runs dry.

Common in Europe and Canada for packaging products like milk, these plastic pouches are now breaking into the American market, but with one change. Rather than snipping off a corner to pour out the contents, you unscrew a nozzle. This makes it easier to dispense and reseal.

L&F Products, a Montvale, N.J., household products company, is launching the refill pouches for two of its cleaning products - Resolve carpet cleaner and Lysol Direct multi-purpose cleaner. But is the American consumer ready?

Earlier test marketing of pouch packaging in the United States failed, says Harvey Sass, Category Manager in the company's Household Products Division, because it was not priced to entice the consumer away from regular packaging.

The new lightweight pouch is sold for less than the traditional bottle, even though it costs L&F the same to make.

Douglas Wright, vice president of environmental affairs at Colgate-Palmolive, believes it is the "historical habits and practices" of the American consumer that until now have consigned the pouch idea to the trash.

"In Canada, for instance, milk has always come in a bladder bag," Mr. Wright says. "So people in that market have been accustomed to flexible bags and handling and dealing with them for many, many years."

In the US, "because of the perceived lack of convenience ... there are some obstacles to overcome," he adds.

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