Going Green: The Refillable Whiteboard Cleaner Story - Show-Me Direct UK
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Going Green: The Refillable Whiteboard Cleaner Story

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you have a whiteboard.

And if you have a whiteboard, you no doubt spend some time cleaning it (even if it isn’t quite regularly as perhaps you should!).

There are plenty of whiteboard cleaners on the market, but how many, if any, are eco-friendly?

Read on to find out how, and why, we made our popular whiteboard cleaner greener….

The Beginning

For many years, we have been looking at our product ranges to see if they can be made better for the environment.

Show-me’s regular whiteboard cleaner, the WCE500, used to be supplied in the traditional format of a trigger spray bottle filled with 500ml liquid. The cleaner has always sold well, but occasionally there would be a little leak here and there when it was shipped out to customers. This was a logistics challenge that needed to be fixed. 

The challenge was taken to Research & Development in the mysterious Show-me Lab to investigate the root cause. 

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Research and Development Start the Investigation

It was clear that the issue we faced was related to how the product was packed in cartons, as well as the way in which spray head triggers work.  

Was this isolated to our trigger spray head? 

No, the issue seemed to be fundamental to the style of trigger used and was present in an identical way across various brands. 

So, why was it happening with our product? 

The way in which the product was packed and shipped out appeared to be the cause.

Typically, a customer would order one bottle of a cleaner at a time along with other important bits and bobs, meaning there was a high chance that other items in the order could knock against the trigger and cause the leak. Even a slight tap on the trigger could cause the cleaner to leak!

This wasn’t a major issue on its own and we quickly implemented a short-term fix. But, if the integrity of the paper-based carton was affected by becoming wet, then the whole carton could fail and cause more damage. 

What next? 

Initially, we looked at different options that did not have the trigger spray. Luckily there were many, but was this the right solution? 

Research & Development took the approach of breaking down the product and really getting to grips with what was required. Because of the way in which the team ponder, it became logical that the best way to stop leaking was to not provide the problem in the first place. 

No Liquid, No Problem. 

So, how do you provide a water-based product without the water?

It’s simple. Get a super concentrated version of the cleaning agents and let the end user add the water. 

Hooray – a solution has been found and the new ‘Step-2’ 500ml Refillable Whiteboard Cleaner was ready to launch. 

Wait – what makes the product greener?

As you may be aware, shipping anything anywhere is based on weight and size. By removing the heaviest part of the product (the liquid) we can reduce the weight that is being transported and thus the energy required to get it there. Less weight means less fuel and CO2 emissions

The product is smaller in size, so the quantity of lightweight products that can be transported in one go has increased, adding to the reduction in energy. 

However, it’s not just about the logistics and leaking.

By changing to the water-soluble sachet, we can save tonnes of plastic each year by switching to a refillable bottle and the refills that go with it.

To get 3.5 litres of whiteboard cleaner you only need to purchase the 500ml refillable bottle once and a small pouch of 6 whiteboard cleaner sachets. So, in the same space, but with much less weight than the original version of the WCE500, you can now get over 6 times the product. WOW indeed. 

This is just one of many developments happening at Show-me with a focus on improved sustainability. All of the product ranges are under review, with some very exciting things due for launch soon…

If you’re interested in sustainability, check out some of our other blogs below: