Our Journey to Zero Waste: Building a Circular Economy at Dr. Bronner’s

A circular economy is a setup where we share, lease, reuse, fix, spruce up, and recycle materials and products to keep them going for as long as we can instead of just throwing them away. We’re committed to a zero waste-to-landfill philosophy, meaning that more than 90% of waste is diverted from landfills by recycling, composting, and repurposing materials no longer needed. We invite you to join us on our journey to zero waste! Shift toward systems that extract less, share more! Convert farms to Regenerative Organic Agriculture! Make recycling more effective, make refill stations more available! Close the loops!

PCR Pioneers!

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In 2003, we were the first brand to use 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic in our cylinder bottles! Today we are working to increase the PCR material in all our packaging. While it is admittedly still plastic, PCR plastic is nevertheless a super-effective delivery system for our liquid products and has a much lower environmental footprint than most other packaging options. Plus, using PCR material builds demand for recycled plastic which helps support recycling collection and infrastructure.

Refill Station, Truly Circular!

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In 2022, the world’s first ever truly circular Dr. Bronner’s Refill Station rolled out at Jimbo’s Naturally grocery in SoCal! This innovative station allows consumers to refill their own containers with soap, while at the same time, our distributor refills the containers that Jimbo’s uses to supply the station, eliminating the need for single-use plastic jugs anywhere in the product delivery system. We have since rolled out at all Jimbo’s locations and will soon expand to several other stores. Hopefully this type of program will eventually become the norm!

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Refill Carton: Less Plastic!

A lot less plastic, in fact! Our new Soap Refill Carton uses 82% less plastic per quart of soap to be exact—and we’re working on getting that to over 90% reduction as part of our journey to zero waste! After conducting extensive research on alternative packaging materials and finding that mostly paper cartons have the smallest environmental impact, we launched our Soap Refill Cartons packaged in an FSC-certified paper—with minimal plastic/aluminum lining for shelf stability. In addition to the new Soap Refill Carton, we encourage our customers to shop our bulk gallon and five gallon options—and refill where available. And of course try out our bar soaps!

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Reduce Plastic Waste!

To account for the plastic we use while tackling global plastic pollution, we are piloting a plastic ‘insetting’ program.

Dr. Bronner’s sister-company, Serendipalm, based in the town of Asuom in Eastern Ghana, supplies us with certified fair trade palm oil and cocoa beans. Historically the region has not had formal waste collection service, and the area is littered with plastic waste. In 2021, Dr. Bronner’s staff and the Serendipalm team set out to address this problem in collaboration with community members.

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We designed a collection and recycling program based on fair trade terms. The team of ten collectors, supervised by a professional manager, receives fair wages to facilitate waste collection in Asuom and several neighboring communities. The collected waste is sorted and baled in a press at our own local collection center and then sent to local regional recycling centers.

Regenerative Organic for a Cooler Planet!

Regenerative Organic Certified® is the highest, most holistic standard for agriculture, with stringent requirements for soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. The key insight of regenerative organic farming is that we cannot continue extracting nutrients from our soils—we have to restore them back in through crop rotation, composting, and other fertility-building practices!

At the same time, we must reinvest resources into the communities around the world that produce our raw materials—the mission at the heart of the fair trade movement! Let’s improve the lives of farmers, reap better yields, sequester carbon, support biodiversity, improve climate resilience, build healthier communities! ALL-ONE!

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Dr. Bronner's

Dr. Bronner’s is a family business committed to honoring the vision of our founder Dr. E.H. Bronner by making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating our profits to helping make a better world. “All-One!”

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