Unilever vows to cut plastic packaging

Marmite maker Unilever announces plans to slash plastic usage

CPG giant Unilever plans a "fundamental rethink" of its packaging policies in order to meet its newly announced plastic packaging reduction goals.

"Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment", Unilever CEO Alan Jope said. Many also plan to increase the amount of recycled or plant-based materials that they use-an important step in part because plastic, which is typically made from fossil fuels, is also a source of greenhouse gas emissions.

As it stands, Unilever's annual global plastic packaging footprint is comprised of 700,000 tonnes.

"This will be delivered through investment and partnerships which improve waste management infrastructure in numerous countries in which Unilever operates", it added.

According to Unilever, this commitment makes it the "first major global consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its portfolio".

Unilever aims to achieve the goal by reducing its use of all plastics by 100,000 metric tons and using more recycled plastic.

Unilever has been developing new ways to deliver its products, which the company says are used daily by 2.5 billion people in over 190 countries.

The announcement came as Barclays Corporate Banking published a new report detailing how consumer demand for sustainable products is growing, but many are still reluctant to pay a premium for green services, such as delivery, re-use, and collection business models. By 2025, Unilever hopes to use no more than 350,000 tons of non-recycled plastic.

On Monday, consumer goods firm Unilever, that sells popular brands such as Lux, Axe, Surf Excel, and Dove, among others, outlined its commitment to eliminate more than 100,000 tonnes of plastic packaging, as well as collecting and processing more plastic packaging than it sells by the year 2025.

It announced: "There is a lot of plastic pollution in the environment". It will also drive action around no plastic solutions, including "naked" products.

"We urge others to follow their lead, so collectively we can eliminate the plastic we don't need, innovate, so what we do need is circulated, and ultimately build an economic system where plastic packaging never becomes waste". In the Philippines, for example, it tested "The Hair Refillery", a pilot in shopping malls in Manila that lets consumers use their own bottles to refill shampoo and conditioner from brands like Dove and Tresemmé; because consumers there are price-conscious, the system was created to let them refill exactly as much as they wanted to and to pay by weight.

Alternative methods it has tried recently include shampoo bars, refillable toothpaste tablets, cardboard deodorant sticks and bamboo toothbrushes. To manage the waste mountain the company will invest in or form partnerships in the waste-handling industry and has already collaborated on a number of projects, including in Indonesia where it has helped establish close to 3,000 waste banks.

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