UNILEVER
Commitment to halve virgin plastics use by 2025 / Pledge to help collect and process 600,000 t plastic packaging annually / CEO says need to rethink design
Major consumer goods manufacturer Unilever (London / UK; www.unilever.com) has announced “ambitious” new commitments to reduce its plastics waste and help create a circular economy. By 2025, the company, which makes well-known brands including Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton and Omo, has pledged to halve its use of virgin plastics, with one third coming from an “absolute reduction,” as well as helping to collect and process around 600,000 t/y of plastic packaging, which is more than the 700,000 t/y it currently uses/sells.

A saving of more than 100,000 t will come from switching to multiple-use packs (reusable and/or refillable), the use of alternative materials or naked products and reducing the amount of plastic in existing packs. Replacing non-recycled plastic packaging with recycled material will account for the remaining reduction.

In order to help collect and process more packaging than it sells, Unilever intends to invest and partner to improve waste management infrastructure, buy and use recycled plastics in its packaging and participate in extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes where it pays directly for its packaging to be collected.

As a result of its pledge, Unilever said it is committing to have a virgin plastic packaging footprint of no more than 350,000 t/y by 2025. “Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment. We can only eliminate plastic waste by acting fast and taking radical action at all points in the plastic cycle,” commented Unilever’s CEO Alan Jope. He added that the starting point has to be design, which demands a “fundamental rethink” in its approach to packaging and products. “It requires us to introduce new and innovative packaging materials and scale up new business models, like re-use and re-fill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity,” he said.

Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF, Cowes / UK; www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org), also urged other companies to follow Unilever’s lead to “ultimately build an economic system where plastic packaging never becomes waste.”

Unilever initiated a “Less, Better, No” plastic framework in 2017, since when it has explored a variety of new ways to package and deliver its products. Measures have included launching its “Cif Eco-refill” and installing refill stations for shampoo and laundry detergent across shops, universities and mobile vending systems in Southeast Asia. In addition, the company has developed a new detectable pigment for its “Lynx” and “Tresemmé” products, making the black packaging recyclable, as well as creating the Lipton “festival bottle”, which is made of 100% recycled plastics and collected using a deposit scheme.
16.10.2019 Plasteurope.com [243613-0]
Published on 16.10.2019
Unilever: Konsumgüterkonzern will Kunststoffbedarf drastisch reduzierenGerman version of this article...

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