Unilever, owner of brands including Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton and Omo has announced ambitious new commitments to reduce its plastic waste and help create a circular economy for plastics.
Unilever has confirmed that by 2025 it will halve its use of virgin plastic, by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes and accelerating its use of recycled plastic. It has also committed to help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.
The move follows on from C&I Retailing Magazine’s report last week on Coca-Cola Amatil’s plan to reduce its plastic use across the business.
Unilever is already on track to achieve its existing commitments to ensure all of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to use at least 25% recycled plastic in its packaging, also by 2025.
Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, said: “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.
“Our starting point has to be design, reducing the amount of plastic we use, and then making sure that what we do use increasingly comes from recycled sources. We are also committed to ensuring all our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Unilever’s commitment will require the business to help collect and process around 600,000 tonnes of plastic annually by 2025. This will be delivered through investment and partnerships which improve waste management infrastructure in many of the countries in which Unilever operates.
Ellen MacArthur, Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “By eliminating unnecessary packaging through innovations such as refill, reuse, and concentrates, while increasing their use of recycled plastic, Unilever is demonstrating how businesses can move away from virgin plastics.
“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.”