One of the regulars on AmwayTalk, MichMan, often passes Amway world headquarters in Ada, Michigan. He sent me this photo of a great billboard that’s up nearby. When he first mentioned it in the AmwayTalk forums, another poster, Deb, mentioned that Amway introduced the word “biodegradable” to the world with it’s first product, L.O.C. – Liquid Organic Concentrate. L.O.C. was one of the first commercially marketed biodegradeable cleaning products, meaning it’s components break down safely without damaging the environment.
I thought that sounded a little hyperbolic, Amway introduced “biodegradable” to the world? I know they’ve been “green” since the beginning, but that seemed a stretch. Then I started digging. I found this source that says the first known use of the word “biodegradable” was in a scientific text in 1961, barely a year or so after the founding of Amway. I then found sources from 1962, 1963, and 1964 (link broken) that all mentioned Amway marketing biodegradable products – that’s within a year of the first known use of the word.
Researching further I found this copy of a 1965 Amway SA-8 advertisement that clearly shows “bio degradable” on the box. This 1963 L.O.C. advertisement seems to have the same text on the bottle. By 1965 Amway was well known for promoting biodegradable products.
While they may not have coined the term, it seems thousands of Amway distributors were indeed introducing the word “biodegradable” to the world long before it became common usage.
The billboard says it all – Amway: Part of the green movement. Before there was one.