The Washington Post

The 100-year evolution of Noxzema packaging, in one GIF

(Images courtesy of Noxzema)

Whether you’re selling pickup trucks, peanuts or skin cream, lighter is better.

Noxzema recently made the packaging for its skin cream 45 percent lighter, saving the company money on materials and transportation costs. In the GIF above, notice the earlier evolution from glass to plastic, which is cheaper to produce and lighter to transport. One striking example of this comes from Planters Peanuts. A switch from glass to plastic reduced the weight of its jars by 84 percent in 2012.

A small savings in the plastic in each 12-ounce Noxzema container adds up to about 127 tons of less waste each year, according to Julie Zaniewski, a packaging sustainability manager with Unilever, which owns Noxzema.

As for pickup trucks, Ford recently drew attention for shaving 700 pounds off its F-150. Using aluminum instead of steel results in better gas mileage.

Unilever is striving to reduce the weight of its product packaging by a third by 2020. It’s using less aluminum in Axe Body Spray cans and less plastics in deodorant sticks. A chemical foaming agent creates microscopic bubbles in the plastic deodorant casing to reduce its weight.

“The beauty of the technology is that the bubbles are on the inside of the pieces and is not something that consumers can see or feel. Space once occupied by plastic in the old packs is now replaced by space occupied by air in the new,” said Douglas C. Tomczak, who leads market activation and quality improvement for Unilever’s deodorants.

Anyone want to guess what Noxzema packaging will look like in 2114?

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Dominic Basulto · January 23, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.