Packaging with Bristol-Mayers Squibb

The Environmental Defense Fund-SC Johnson partnership spawned the development of the MERGE software tool, which integrates environmental considerations into the design of consumer products and packaging.


  • Improve product packaging
  • Integrate lifecycle assessment into the company’s design metrics
  • Improve our MERGE lifecycle software tool capability
  • Apply MERGE to improve the environmental profile of new products and packaging


Bristol-Myers Squibb initially applied MERGE to 12 products including Clairol Natural Instincts hair color and Renewal shampoo.
Packaging changes for Renewal reduced:

  • solid waste by over 80 tons and
  • greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 tons annually.

In 2001, Aveda began to use MERGE and in the first two years boosted recycled content in its polyethylene bottles from 45% to 80%, eliminating the use of about 150 tons of virgin polyethylene a year.

This resulted in Aveda winning the Consumer Products and Cosmetics Editor’s Award for packaging in 2003.

Ripple Effect

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition and its partner GreenBlue are using and maintaining our software application MERGE as a tool for major companies such as Dow, Nike and Unilever to improve their packaging.

What They’re Saying

“As with many packaging changes, when you switch to recycled paperboard you have to get some experience with the new material, do test runs, and make adjustments to the equipment.

“We run recycled paperboard just as fast as virgin paperboard. Our shipping tests show that recycled board is just as strong.

“As for appearance, we’ve been using recycled paperboard in our Excedrin and Comtrex lines for ten years, and consumers seem to think it looks good.”

— Lynn Dixon-Anderson, Team Leader of Package Engineering for New Pharmaceutical & Consumer Products, Bristol-Myers Squibb