Reader Find: Dial Soap Eco Pack Refill = $0.60 per Bottle at ShopRite

Sometimes great deals don’t even need to have a coupon.  Like this deal that reader Diane sent to me.  And she is right on 2 counts.  The first is the price point is great and the second is that it helps the environment because it uses less plastic.

The Dial Liquid soap Eco-pack refill , 40 ounces size is on sale for $3.00 at ShopRite.  The bag is enough to fill about 5+ (7.5 oz) bottles of soap.  So that equals out to only $0.60 a bottle.

So, keep your eyes out for this product.  Now if we can only find a coupon it would be an even sweeter deal.

(Thanks Diane!)

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  • Marc

    Something that I have thought about these things in regards to the packaging being environmentally friendly and all; not so much.

    You would think; less material = more gooder. But If the plastic bottle is recyclable (and you do so) and these plastic bags are not, which is better for the environment?

    • Ann

      For one thing, Oil is used in the production of plastic. So less plastic = less oil = less impact on the environment. In addition, many stores recycle plastic bags. My Shoprite and Target have bins in the front of the store to drop off any plastic bag(s).

      That makes me feel better.

      • Marc

        I wasn’t actually referring to grocery bags.

        You have to package soap somehow, right? I am just contemplating which packaging is really better when all is said and done.

  • ronni

    Given my husband is a packaging engineer, I can attempt to answer this for you. The benefits of recycling is a hot topic in our house. The plastic bottle is not really recyclable nor is the eco friendly pack. It might be made w/recyclable plastic but when it is thrown away residue is usually left in it
    (most people do not rinse out soap containers properly or at all), therefore it is tossed from the recyclables and put into regular landfill. Plus, if it was made with recyclable plastic to begin with, it might not be able to be recycled again even it it were to be cleaned out. Given such, the eco-pack allows us to refill the bottle 3-4 times, thus eliminating those bottles being tossed in landfills. The eco-pack itself is probably not recyclable because of the residue. One must also consider the ink on the product .. is it water soluble? If not, then when it breaks down it can get into the dirt and into our water systems. In order for the eco friendly pack to be really helpful to us, it would have to be in concentrate form. Thus reducing the amount we use because we would have to add water to it. This would yield us more product. It would take longer to use it and therefore create less waste.. Given the item in question is on sale it offers us a product to take advantage of which will probably reduce the amount of the plastic containers. However, as i said, if the product was already recycled, it defeats the purpose. If the ink on either product is not water soluble, we again defeat the purpose. Companies use the buzz words/advertising to get you to buy their product by trying to convenience you that you’re helping the environment. I am not saying that recycling is not a good thing, but only 20% of what is recycled (national avg.) is used to create new products. Why – because it takes too much energy to make these products, thus defeating the benefit of recycling. An example of such would be those park benches we used to see many years ago. They were made from plastic. They use to much energy to make them and therefore defeats the purpose of recycling. They are no longer made. it is interesting to see that the organic companies are making environmentally safe products. Then all the other companies kicked in and they sell it at the same price point. So if they were able to do this, then why did they not do it years ago. Why, it was not a money making situation. Once the organic companies took off and they were losing business to them,they decided to make their own form of such product. So saving the environment is only a good thing if it is profitable. we have no proof that their products are better for the environment .. all we have is them saying it is because they want to look environmentally responsible .. we buy it because it makes us feel like we are helping the environment . Great marketing – play on people’s emotions. just remember everything always boils down to the ol mighty $. profit will always unfortunately come before recycling, safety and the environment. I could talk for weeks about this stuff!!!

    • Marc

      You brought some interesting points to my attention. I never really put as much thought into the consequences of, for this discussion, soap dispensers not being properly washed out as I should have. I can definitely imagine how, what usually is quite a bit of soap, remaining soap would seriously affect the recycling chain. At very least, I could see how the wash cycle, following plastic containers being chopped up into smaller pieces, would end up being a huge, comical bubble explosion.

      I think you meant to say that even if plastic containers were washed out by consumers, many of them are made of plastics that are not recycled everywhere, right?

      I was trying to contrast plastic refill bottles with these foil refill bottles. But i did assume that 1) the consumer would recycle the bottle 2) It would make it through they recycling stream and 3) would be used for making – for simplicity purposes – another plastic soap bottle.

      The state of recycling in the USA is pathetic (because ‘sad’ is an understatement) based on consumer recycling rates, and you are implying that most of what is recycled is never even re-used. I know that recycling completion with recycled industrial waste is almost perfect compared to consumer waste, which implies that consumer recycling is an exercise in futility; in the USA and if your 20% figure is accurate.

      This is another area that the USA could learn a whole lot about from just looking at what other countries do. The state of recycling in Europe is so far ahead of what we could do at our very best. Short term profits do not have to rule the day, our trash and waste policies are no different than our financial policies; leave a pile of toxic waste for future generations to deal with; living on a credit card and feeling wealthy until the grand-kids inherit the debt. Recycling is not impossible, it’s just that our country is too lazy, and sometimes I think to dumb, to take the actions.

      Regarding my original packaging question; I see, based on what you pointed out, that given that the current policy in the USA is more focused on dumping our waste in a hole; flat film packaging seems like a good idea. On the other hand, I feel like less waste only prolongs bad policy. We need to change our mindset, and US Americans aren’t good at being proactive; we like being reactive; so, maybe the USA needs to turn into Wall-e world before we realize something is wrong.

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  • ronni

    actually, what I am saying is that the plastic soap container could be made of a plastic that was already recycled .. there are numbers on the bottoms of plastics and the numbers determine many things. If this were the case then that plastic bottle would not be recyclable again even if it were washed properly. Many items are made out of plastic which has already been recycled. Most people would not realize this and toss this item into their recyclables. It would later be removed and tossed into a landfill. In Canada they recycle plastics by numbers and they are literally kept separated in the trucks that collect them.
    But lets say that the plastic bottle in question was not already made from previous recycled plastic. We still have the issue of it not being cleaned out properly as well as the ink on the bottle. I purchased the flat pouch today and it says many things, however, given profit is the first and foremost thing a company is in business for, I am more interested in what it does not say. In order for the company to make money the pouch has to be cheaper to make then the bottle. It also has to be cheaper to fill as well as transport them, despite their claim to be kinder to the environment. It has a higher price point, throw in helping the environment and you got yourself a money maker.
    Now the question of is it better for the environment – landfill when comparing it to the plastic bottles. You call the pouch a foil pouch. No where on the packaging does it say what it is made out of. It appears to be made of a flexible plastic ( my husband calls it a laminated polyetholene plastic) as opposed to a rigid plastic. No where on the product does it say it is recyclable or how to dispose of it. It has a lot of writing in which ink was used and it has a plastic nozzle and cap. When people hear recycle and less impact on landfills, they automatically think it’s good. Here is what I question. Although I believe that we need to put less in the landfill, we also need to be concerned about what we are putting in even if that item takes up less room. i would opt for a bulkier item that is not going to hurt the earth or water system. This product does not say that. Can you recycle the pouch? If not, how long does pouch take to breakdown vs. how long does the plastic bottle take? How long does the plastic nozzle and cap take to break down. Is the ink you use in this particular type of plastic water soluble? What happens to the residue in the pouch, does it leech out? While at first glance, the pouch appears to be the more environmentally friendly choice, however, I would have to do more research in order to find this out. Do you know how they test landfills to determine how long it takes for things to break down? They bore deep holes and remove newspapers. They find papers from the 1930’s … this is a good thing, because then the inks used in printing had lead and other chemicals. These inks would have a more harmful impact on our soil and water system if they were breaking down more rapidly. Did you know that once aluminum is sold to a recycle center it is then purchased by a broker and sold to China. What do they do, well they use it to make other items and then they turn around and sell it back to us at a higher price!!! Did you know that in European countries they do not use plastic shopping bags and they also burn their garbage- you may given you referred to the way other countries recycle. We don’t do these things because lobbyists and special interest groups control this country. We are definitely a nation that is reactive and not proactive. Create confusion and people are too lazy and/or ignorant to figure it out. They leave it up to someone else. A good example of peoples ignorance is the throw away world we live in despite our push to recycle and be kinder to the earth. 15 years ago we had mops, not swipers with throw away cloths and chemically treated pads. We used a toilet brush to clean the toilet not a chemically pretreated pad that is tossed away. People get bent out of shape if they see me put my empty plastic milk container in my garbage. This plastic milk container may take up room, but I can bet it is safer then the 50 a week toss away chemically treated items being thrown away by the people who make sure their milk container is properly disposed of. Why are companies allowed to get away with creating items that can be tossed away after one use, fill our landfills and can potentially be harmful to the soil and water system? Americans are convenience driven, and this convenience equals profit. Recycle benefits are confusing. People do not understand and are confused. It makes people feel better to think they are helping and the marketing experts know this. In order to make educated decisions, one would have to be a recycle expert. I am not, but my husband has been well trained. In our home we either re purpose an item or place it on line on the free recycle post. We use concentrated forms of items and mix the item with water in a reusable spray bottle. When it comes to hand soap, I have purchased several pumps which make foam. I put 25% liquid soap and then add water. This reduces the amount of soap I use and it would take me longer to toss away the bottle or pouch. Even though I am conscience of this, I do know that the better/healthier choice would be to place items in the landfill that breakdown safely even if it takes longer and even if it is bigger. My husband says that being “green” costs more and most people are not willing to pay for that so manufacturers have to come up with creative ways to get to to buy their products to compete with the so called organic market. They give you less product and claim to give you environmentally safer packaging and or product. This is not always the case and given this pouch only talks about significantly less impact to landfills, it does not say the pouch itself is recyclable. This pouch will wind up in the landfill flatter then the bottle, but who knows the long term effects of it. A responsible company would have made this pouch out of recyclable plastic. I can guarantee that would have cut into profit. I know I;m going on and on … I have a great deal of passion and concern about this. I hope I have answered your question and thank you for reading my response. It appears that you are an intelligent person who is taking the time to make observations and ask the obvious questions about recycling. further comments would be welcomed .. i am enjoying this!!!
    -ronni

  • Marc

    It has been an interesting discussion and, as I mentioned before, you have brought up some interesting points I have not considered enough or at all.

    If recycling is passionate topic for you, I would strongly suggest researching the German recycling system. Although I have always been interested in getting some of the background information on how it all works in detail (The urge for which has now been heightened because of some things you mentioned) ; the front-end of their recycling program is quite impressive and would probably even go beyond what you could imagine (because it is so far removed/advanced from what happens here).

    It sounds confusing and burdensome at first, but every household has several containers (trying to remember correctly: biomass, hazardous waste like batteries and paint, paper, metal and plastic, glass, styrofoam as hoc, and a regular rest-waste bin) that are picked up on rotating schedules. That may sound like a lot of work and confusing, but after all the kicking and screaming it just becomes a habit, like all the others (We have so many bad habits, why can’t we have good ones?). Even if you go to a McDonalds, when you take your tray to the trash, you are responsible for separating out paper, plastic, biomass, etc. I definitely know what you mean about convenience culture; we can’t be bothered to do the smallest thing if it involves delaying gratification.

    Here is an interesting overview on EU recycling from the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4620041.stm

    It is far too large a subject to document here in detail, but it all starts with the culture having a far more environmentally conscious attitude in general in Germany and Europe (not to digress, but the difference has to be related to historic experience, e.g., we have such a waste culture because of a “there are unlimited resources of everything to go around for everyone forever” mythological attitude we still carry around and, consequentially, entitled attitude that someone else can worry about paying for). Granted, a lot of the things one can do to be “green” in Germany is due to a long history of human habitation, denser population, smaller area, etc. and “green” lifestyle has just been a way of life for generations; but even compared to USA areas that that have all those conditions, what you see in Germany (and most other cities and countries in western Europe) seems like a distant utopia compared to our overall state.

    Ok, I think I have said enough on the topic. It has generated some ideas for projects, so I appreciate your dialogue. Have a good day, and, as I encourage many people, look outside of the USA. The world is moving forward while we wallow around fat and happy in how things were yesterday.

    • ronni

      Well you have definitely inspired me! I will not only be looking up the German system, but others as well. I was looking for a worthwhile project for my kids (I have 4) and this is going to be it – comparing and contrasting recycling systems around the world. This would make an excellent project for the science fair. About the confusing part – while it might be confusing, I love the challenge. Coming full circle, the challenge of this coupon world was confusing at first but now it saves my family money and I teach others how to do it as well. My children have learned to use coupons and it has helped with math and a ton of other worthwhile life lessons. It has been a pleasure sharing dialogue with you too. I wish you luck with your projects.,
      -ronni