Have you noticed that your plastic wrap is doing a lot less wrapping and a lot more flapping? Well, there’s a reason! While this is, fortunately, not a story about a company cutting corners with their goods, it might be a sad story for those dreaming of the day Saran Wrap returns to its glory days.
The story starts with SC Johnson, the makers of Saran Wrap. The original formula contained Polyvinylidene chloride, or PVDC, which is basically the substance that made Saran Wrap stick to itself. PVDC, by the way, also keeps in odors and is microwaveable-safe.
SC Johnson bought Saran Wrap and added it to its lineup, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began worrying about the effects of PVDC on our planet. When PVDC is burned, which often happens when trash is incinerated, it releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.
So SC Johnson had a decision to make: Would they put profits over the environment? Judging by Saran Wrap’s reduced clinginess, you’d be a smart woman to bet that they chose the planet. And in the end, SC Johnson did end up removing PVDC from its product.
Because Saran Wrap isn’t as sticky as it once was, SC Johnson’s share of the plastic wrap market has declined from 18 percent to 11. The company has also stopped promoting the product as significantly better than its competitors.
So why did Fisk Johnson, the chairman and CEO of SC Johnson make this bold decision? In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, he said this: “The goodwill of people is the only enduring thing in any business. The rest is shadow.”
For an interesting video on how plastic bags are made, check out the video below: