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Unilever commits to 100pc recyclable plastic packaging by 2025

DUBAI, February 7, 2017

Unilever, one of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home care, personal care and refreshment products, has committed itself to ensuring that all of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 as it called on the entire fast-moving consumer goods industry to accelerate progress towards the circular economy.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), just 14 per cent of the plastic packaging used globally makes its way to recycling plants, while 40 per cent ends up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems. By 2050, it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

While architect and circular economy leader William McDonough says the cradle to cradle redesign of packaging is one of the great global design challenges of our time - similar to scaling renewable energy to address climate change.

Treating plastic packaging as a valuable resource to be managed efficiently and effectively is a key priority in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and, in doing so, shifting away from a “take-make-dispose” model of consumption to one which is fully circular, said a Unilever statement.

To help transform global plastic packaging material flows, Unilever has committed to:
•    Ensure all of its plastic packaging is designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
•    Renew its membership of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for another three years and endorse and support their New Plastics Economy initiative. As part of this, it will publish the full “palette” of plastics materials used in its packaging by 2020 to help create a plastics protocol for the industry
•    Invest in proving, and then sharing with the industry, a technical solution to recycle multi-layered sachets, particularly for coastal areas which are most at risk of plastics leaking into the ocean

Unilever has already committed to reduce the weight of the packaging it uses this decade by one third by 2020, and increase its use of recycled plastic content in its packaging to at least 25 per cent by 2025 against a 2015 baseline, both as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. In 2015, it achieved its commitment of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across its manufacturing operations.

Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, said: “Our plastic packaging plays a critical role in making our products appealing, safe and enjoyable for our consumers. Yet it is clear that if we want to continue to reap the benefits of this versatile material, we need to do much more as an industry to help ensure it is managed responsibly and efficiently post consumer-use.

“To address the challenge of ocean plastic waste we need to work on systemic solutions - ones which stop plastics entering our waterways in the first place. We hope these commitments will encourage others in the industry to make collective progress towards ensuring that all of our plastic packaging is fully recyclable and recycled.

“We also need to work in partnership with governments and other stakeholders to support the development and scaling up of collection and reprocessing infrastructure which is so critical in the transition towards a circular economy. Ultimately, we want all of the industry’s plastic packaging to be fully circular,” said Polman.

As part of its commitment, Unilever will ensure that by 2025, it is technically possible for its plastic packaging to be reused or recycled and there are established, proven examples of it being commercially viable for plastics re-processors to recycle the material, the statement said. – TradeArabia News Service
 




Tags: plastic | Unilever | Recycling | packaging |

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