From aerosol to recyclable flexible packaging: WD-40 Company

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A household name in the chemical industry since 1953, WD-40 Company products are well known for their iconic aerosol packaging. This year, the company broke from that tradition by launching WD-40 Specialist® EZ-Pods — a new degreasing product comprised of concentrated pods rather than the traditional liquid format.

In line with the overall trend toward refillables, this product disrupts the degreaser segment and places WD-40 Company at the forefront of innovation.

Futureproof packaging

In many markets, sustainable product innovation is becoming a minimum requirement to do business. With more consumers making purchase decisions based on sustainability concerns, numerous big box retailers are considering sustainable packaging design when evaluating new products. Recognizing this, WD-40 Company saw the launch of its new WD-40 Specialist® degreaser as an opportunity to futureproof its packaging.

The team set out to find a packaging format that met their marketing and sustainability goals. Initially, they explored small rigid containers as a packaging solution. Unfortunately, this option restricted the amount of space for marketing and didn’t stand out on retail shelves. Witnessing a trend toward flexible packaging, the WD-40 Company team decided to turn to the packaging experts at Brook + Whittle.

The two teams began working through initial material selection and pouch design. The final packaging needed to be safe, child-proof and, most importantly, visually appealing. Laser-focused on print quality and visual impact, WD-40 Company originally wanted a 2-ply lamination with metalized film. But, when they saw their design printed on a sustainable PE construction, they changed their minds. Without sacrificing performance, cost or aesthetics, WD-40 Company settled on two recyclable flexible packaging formats: a stand-up pouch with a child-resistant closure and a sample-sized three-side sealed pouch. Both options are recyclable through collection services like How2Recycle’s Store Drop-off program.

WD-40 company switches to recyclable flexible packaging with new WD-40 Specialist EZ-PODS degreaser & cleaner product
WD-40 Company switches to recyclable flexible packaging with launch of new WD-40 Specialist® EZ-Pods

Sustainability without sacrifice

In addition to recyclability, flexible packaging offers further benefits. Its lightweight construction reduces storage area needed, transportation costs and overall carbon footprint. It also gives marketing teams more space to maximize shelf appeal by allowing for 100% print coverage of the material.

“Our marketing team was impressed with the amount of copy space available with flexible packaging. We have the real estate to tell the product story, provide instructions for use and list the benefits — all while maintaining the aesthetic appeal consistent with our brand,” says Paul Checklin, Senior Director of Application Engineering and Technical Sourcing at WD-40 Company.

Finding a more vibrant future, together

The world of flexible packaging can be daunting for any brand. That’s why having a print partner who understands which films and protective barriers will work best for a specific application is invaluable. “We are heavily focused on futureproofing our products. With no prior experience in flexible packaging, we sought a supplier we could build with. We found a true partner in Brook + Whittle. The team helped us find a solution that not only aligned with our brand but satisfied our recyclability goals,” said Chris Aiello, Senior Scientist, Research and Development at WD-40 Company.

WD-40 Specialist® EZ-Pods officially hit retail shelves in February 2023. This new product and its recyclable flexible packaging has been well received as it complements chain stores’ ESG strategies and pushes the degreasing market into a more sustainable future.

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