The impacts of the Magic Eraser and how it compares with other cleaning products
For Procter & Gamble, PRé did a study to help them chart the main impact drivers for their Magic Eraser product, created a parameterized model to assess today’s impact and allow for future variations, and made a comparison with other cleaning materials for standardized tasks. P&G can now use these results to improve their manufacturing even more and communicate better with customers about the product’s environmental performance.
As a global leader in products that make life’s little moments easier, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is continuously searching for areas where they can have the biggest positive impact. As part of their goals for 2030, they are exploring how to profile some of their brands according to their sustainability benefits.
P&G designs and manufactures innovative cleaning products under multiple brands and for different purposes. One of them is Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, a leading surface cleaning sponge that when used with water works as very fine sandpaper, which makes it a highly effective abrasive cleaner.
One of the biggest challenges for the product developers at P&G is to understand the key drivers behind the environmental impacts of the Magic Eraser when used in different cleaning tasks. They would like to have this information to determine the best strategy to optimize the magic eraser’s design while reducing its environmental impacts.
This study consisted of data collection, modelling and an environmental assessment of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable. We made a comparison with alternative cleaning products, used for one year to perform a range of specific cleaning tasks in the US.
In this project, it felt very complex to get all the data, but we always stayed focused on the goal. PRé’s questionnaire made it very easy. The process was great. There was a good team dialogue; everybody was very responsive. The communication and division of tasks felt very easy.
Dave Pung, Principle Scientist, Global Surface Care, Procter & Gamble
All scenarios were modelled from cradle to grave, including all environmentally relevant upstream, production and downstream processes and end of life. We used a parameterized SimaPro model to allow quick upgrades and calculation of new scenarios. This approach allowed us to test usage scenarios by changing the durability of the products, to include or exclude additional cleaning accessories such as gloves, or to set different hot water temperatures and energy sources.
The results helped P&G to clearly identify the hotspots along the life cycle of the Magic Eraser and to understand how it compares with other products when used in three specific cleaning tasks. The findings will be used by product developers and P&G suppliers to improve the Magic Eraser’s manufacturing and to focus their communication campaigns with the users.
The dynamic SimaPro model will be used by P&G to test future product iterations, new materials, changes in consumer behaviour and thus gain even more insights into their products.
PRé delivered an LCA comparison between the Magic Eraser and a range of other common cleaning products. The collaboration went very smoothly. The data collection, which is always a difficult task, went well. Misperceptions were quickly cleared up. The expectations were very clear from the start. We did not have many iterations. The delivered report is a good LCA report in line with what we hoped and in line with what we think is important. We got what we wanted in a very few steps!
Joost Dewaele, Scientist, Procter & Gamble