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There they go again, putting the environment ahead of profits.

Not exactly the profile of most American companies, but one we — thankfully — have come to expect from SC Johnson.

Last month, in the long tradition of the global, Racine-based, family-run company, SCJ put plastics on the bull’s-eye and pledged to help combat the rising worldwide problem of plastic refuse that is now beginning to clog our oceans and create vast islands of floating plastic garbage.

“Ocean plastic is a global crisis, with the equivalent of one dumptruck load every minute entering the world’s oceans, mainly from Asian countries,” SCJ said as it announced a three-pronged effort to join worldwide efforts to reduce ocean plastics, increase recycling and work with governments and businesses to throttle plastic dumping.

SCJ said it was partnering with the Ellen McArthur Foundation in signing on to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to address the root causes of plastic pollution worldwide.

SCJ Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson said 8 million metric tons of plastic are entering the world’s oceans each year. He said more than 30 percent of plastic waste escapes collection systems and goes into the environment.

Marine life, fish, seabirds have all shown ill effects from the rise in plastic pollution, but there have also been warning signs that plastic and its production byproducts have entered our water systems and may, in time, have long-term risks for humans as well.

For its part, SCJ said it would boost recycled plastic content in its packaging, support reuse of plastic bottles through concentrated refills and launch an effort to make Ziploc bags recyclable at curbside.

One of the company’s goals is to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable within the next seven years — up from current levels of 90 percent.

“We measure our success not by the financial report of the next quarter, but by what we can do to make the world better for this generation and the next,” Fisk Johnson said.

That is a clear echo of the stances of his father, Sam Johnson, who put SCJ on a path of long-term commitment to safeguard the environment as much as possible in its production processes, and in its products which include pesticides.

Sam Johnson famously put a stamp on that by deciding the company would no longer use chlorofluorocarbons in its aerosol products, a move that was rebuked by other industry leaders in 1975 — but soon led to a government ban on CFCs.

It’s a remarkable legacy for any company, and we’re proud to say this company calls Racine its home. We support their effort to rein in the problem of plastic waste and to protect our environment.

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