Crabtree & Evelyn, Johnson & Johnson Expand Plans to Phase Out PVC Packaging Materials

Crabtree & Evelyn, Johnson & Johnson Expand Plans to Phase Out PVC Packaging Materials

Crabtree and Evelyn, an international manufacturer and retailer of personal care products, has announced it is speeding up plans to stop using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) packaging products by March 2009. Johnson & Johnson says it will reduce use of PVC packaging by 70% by year end 2007.

"We are thrilled that both these companies have decided to expand earlier commitments they made," said Lois Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), an environmental health advocacy group that has been leading a drive to eliminate packaging or products that use what it calls "the poison plastic." Gibbs said studies show links between chemicals created and use during the PVC lifecycle and cancer, reproductive and immune system damage, and asthma.

The Crabtree & Evelyn and Johnson & Johnson announcements came as PVC demand and production showed signs of slowing as the campaign involving more than 60 organizations has taken hold. Gibbs pointed to a recent Dow Chemical press release saying, “Despite solid sales growth in Europe, vinyl chloride monomer volumes also fell year-over-year, reflecting weaker global industry demand for polyvinyl chloride.”

Since CHEJ and other environmental health organizations have campaigned against PVC, dozens of companies have made commitments to cut down on or eliminate the use of PVC packaging materials and products. They include Adidas, Aveda, Bath and Body Works, the Body Shop, Gerber, Hewlett-Packard, Honda, Ikea, Kaiser Permanente, Mattel, Microsoft, Nike, Samsung, SC Johnson, Catholic Healthcare West, Wal-Mart, Firestone Building Products Company and Shaw Carpet, Toyota, Victoria's Secret, Volvo and over 100 healthcare organizations.

“We're working with manufacturing companies, retailers, hospitals, schools and construction companies to promote safe substitutes for PVC,” said Gibbs, the housewife-turned -activist who led a community effort to relocate hundreds of families away from the infamous Love Canal toxic waste site and later founded CHEJ.