Simple ingredients and simple processes for products that work well without dangerous chemicals. GREEN CHEMISTRYGreen chemistry is a design process that strives to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous substances. It’s the best way to describe Bon Ami’s approach to product design. We didn’t start out striving to be green. We just started out with simple ingredients and simple processes to give you products that work well without dangerous chemicals. One green chemistry tactic involves finding new uses for what was once considered waste. (An empty plastic bottle, for example, doesn’t need to be waste: It can be recycled to make something new.) This approach, too, is part of our roots. A key ingredient in our scrubbing powder, first sold in 1886, was feldspar. At the time, feldspar was a waste product at quartz mines, and was being tossed away – until someone noticed that shovels used in the tossing were always shiny. One company’s waste became another company’s key ingredient.For more than a hundred years, we’ve stuck to a short list of ingredients largely because our company culture led us to keep the recipes simple. As environmental awareness grew in and around our company, we found other reasons to stick with the simple ingredients. What was once a habit or a sense of tradition became an intentional pursuit and a statement of purpose. Today, it’s more important than ever to keep it simple.We’ve changed the mix of ingredients over the years. We replaced the tallow soap with a cleaning agent made from corn and coconut. We’ve added new products, and have found ways to keep them both simple and green. In designing liquid cleansers with fragrances (we still offer fragrance-free versions), we’ve chosen natural essential oils, never synthetic scents.SHAPED BY THE CHEMICALLY-SENSITIVEWe kept things simple largely because that’s what we knew best. But there were other factors that reinforced this approach.Our connection to a community of people sensitive to an increasing number of pervasive chemicals had a significant impact on our company and our practices. At a time when other cleaning products kept introducing new cleaning agents, new fragrances and more bleach, we were admittedly tempted to follow along. But the letters from a small group of chemically sensitive people – expressing real gratitude to us for avoiding harmful substances – helped us stay the course.We remain connected to this community, and the dialog continues to shape our thinking on product and package design.SIMPLE SOLUTIONS TO COMMON CHALLENGESWhen developing liquid products, we committed to using 100% post-consumer recycled (and recyclable) PET for the containers. Our manufacturer had trouble producing perfectly clear and consistent bottles – some bottles had slight blemishes, and some looked to be a slightly darker shade than others. Our product designers struggled to find an engineering answer (they obsess over quality) until they reconsidered the question. Realizing it may have nothing to do with engineering, they asked: Does it really matter if the bottles have blemishes? The quick answer: Of course not! We figured our customers wouldn’t mind, particularly if a few blemishes on the bottles meant fewer blemishes in nature. We now look at these bottles and rather like the imperfections. We try to tell our sales force that they have a handmade look!In committing to use natural and essential oils in some liquid products, our designers quickly saw that these ingredients don’t behave like the synthetics typically used in scented cleansers: The oils, naturally, rise to the top, just like in salad dressing. But the only way to get around that is to use additives - or shake the bottle. So we asked another simple question: What would our customers prefer - synthetic stabilizers or natural elbow grease? We decided they wouldn't mind putting in a little extra effort.