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P&G patents completely recyclable product pump

Writing in a recent U.S. patent​, multinational personal beauty care company Procter & Gamble details how their innovative design fills a pressing need for consumers and manufacturers alike, stating, “there is a need for a pump dispenser that has a pump assembly where used pump assemblies do not require disassembly to be recycled in current recycling streams.” 

To accomplish this, there is also a “need for a pump assembly with a plastic spring where the spring does not lose stiffness over time and does not interact with the liquid product.”

The current pump problem

Pump dispensers are used throughout the beauty and personal care industries in various products and applications, including cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner, and lotions. Most pumps are constructed with polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) components and typically feature a steel spring, which allows the pump assembly to dispense product “when a user pushes down on (or primes) the pump head.​”

This causes the piston to put “pressure on the spring and move a ball valve upward, taking some product with it. When the pump head is released, the piston and spring return to the resting positions, sealing off the housing chamber to stop liquid from flowing back up into the bottle​.”

Unfortunately, while most PE or PP components in current designs can generally be recycled, “the presence of the steel spring in the pump assembly can make it difficult to recycle the pump dispenser in current recycling streams​.” Steel springs are currently in favor “because they are inexpensive, relatively stiff with little deformation over time while still being relatively easy to actuate, and generally do not react with most liquid beauty and personal care products​.”


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