Unilever wants to reduce plastics radically

The consumer goods company Unilever uses 700,000 tons of plastic a year for packaging its products worldwide. Unilever has now set itself a new target to tackle the flood of plastic.

Unilever, owner of brands such as Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton and Omo, has announced an ambitious new project. The company has set itself the goal of reducing plastic waste and supporting the development of a recycling economy for plastics. The amount of virgin plastic used is to be halved by 2025, so that 350,000 tons less virgin plastic are used for packaging. An overall reduction of 100,000 tons is to be achieved through cutting down absolutely on virgin plastic. According to Unilever, this makes it the first major global brand manufacturer to commit itself to an absolute reduction in plastics use across its entire product range. This is to be achieved by introducing refillable or recyclable packaging or products that do not require any plastic packaging. The remaining savings are to be achieved through the use of post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR), i.e. recycled plastic from plastic waste generated by consumers.

Alan Jope, CEO at Unilever, declared: “We can only reduce plastic waste by acting quickly and taking radical action throughout the plastic application cycle. To do this, we must first reduce plastic use and then ensure that more recycled plastic is used. We will also work to ensure that in the future all our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable and biodegradable. This requires a rethinking process as regards our packaging and products. It calls for the introduction of new and innovative packaging materials and matching business models – such as reusable and refillable formats – at an unprecedented speed and intensity”.

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