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Ultra-concentrated car-wash chemicals part of unique delivery system

CleaningSystems.jpgA car wash-chemical dispensing system that replaces 30- and 55-gal high-density polyethylene drums with 1-gal containers and film bags of ultra-concentrated product has won an Environmental Impact award in the Secondary/Large-Format packaging category of the 2011 Greener Package Awards. In spring 2010, the Lustra division of Cleaning Systems, Inc., DePere, WI, launched the Ultraflex® chemical system of concentrated cleaning solutions and equipment for on-site mixing. Upon release of the Ultraflex line, CSI president and CEO Dave Krause said, "We developed the Ultraflex system with safety, convenience, money savings, and environmental responsibility as key attributes."

Forty-seven car-wash chemical products, including presoaks and detergents, foaming conditioners and polishes, sealants and drying agents, and wheel and tire cleaners, among others, are now offered in formulas that are 3X- to 5X-concentrated and are packaged in 1-gal HDPE containers from N.E.W. Plastics Corp. Some chemicals are also packed in film bags made from a 3-mil cast nylon/sealant co-extrusion from Advanced Barrier Extrusions. Notes CSI vice president of marketing Mark Brock, while concentrated products are not new to the car-wash industry, "to have them concentrated down to a one-gallon container is.

"We are the first in the industry to provide a complete line of products and a system to deliver these highly concentrated products to the car wash."

At the end-user's site, the gallon container is placed in a reservoir receiver, where the seal is punctured, and the liquid empties into the reservoir. Chemical lines in the reservoir draw out the chemical and mix it with water. The lines can also be combined with a Checkhub to mix fragrances and colors with the chemicals. Because car-wash operators can "dial-in" the exact amount of chemicals needed, CSI says the system also results in less wasted product.

Among the environmental advantages of the smaller, 1-gal containers, which are distributed four to a recycled cardboard case, is the reduction in diesel fuel used to transport the products, as well as the recyclability of the new containers. In its Greener Package Awards entry form, CSI reports that the system nets "an 80% reduction in diesel fuel used to transport raw materials from the packaging manufacturers, and finished product from CSI to distributors in the U.S. and Canada." A further 55% reduction in gasoline is achieved during transport of the product from the distributor to the end user, CSI adds. The net result, calculated from EPA figures, is said to be a 232,000-kg/CO2 reduction per 10,000 drums of product.

Says Paul Hartford of Pack Distributing, a CSI distributor, "Because Ultraflex is so compact, we are able to more easily distribute chemicals by putting them on the same truck with our general merchandise, which saves us money."

As for recycling, the company's former 30- and 55-gal drum packages were often improperly disposed of due to the difficulty in recycling. CSI says the new containers and film bags are "100% community-recyclable," resulting in less landfill waste. "In its second year, the Ultraflex program will recycle over 135,000 containers and cases," CSI reports.

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