Unilever Australasia will use a minimum of 25% recycled plastic

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever Australasia will use a minimum of 25% recycled plastic
The Australian and New Zealand arm of Unilever plans to use at least 25% recycled plastic for its brand packaging.

A collection of Unilever’s leading brand names, including Dove, TRESemmé, Surf, Sunsilk and OMO will feature recycled plastic for home and personal care goods bottles, a Packaging Gateway report reveals​.

As Unilever plans to use sourced post-consumer recycled plastic in Australia, the sustainability plan is expected to raise 750 tonnes of recycled plastic each year.

“We also need to continue our work to reduce the amount of packaging we use whilst balancing this with delivering the quality of products our consumers expect,”​ Unilever reported.

Industry challenges

Commenting on how “economic and technical feasibility [are] still major barriers to using recycled plastic content across our packaging”,​ the company strives to reduce the amount of packaging used while maintaining the quality of its product range.

Following its pledge in 2017 to ensure all of its plastic packagings is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025​, Unilever Australasia aims to complement this goal by using a minimum of 25% recycled plastic packaging.

Recycled plastics

Readdressing the balance to increase between the amount of plastic sent to recycling plants instead of landfills, the move in the personal and home care environments will gather pace in 2018.

Unilever plans to launch its newly recycled plastic bottles in 2019 following a pilot and testing period later this year. The company will use plastic from recycling bins from the local council and represents the first time a company in Australia has transferred its plastic sourcing to the locally obtained products through a sustainable recycling process.

“As a consumer goods company, we are acutely aware of the consequences of a linear take-make-dispose model and we want to change it,”​ expressed Clive Stiff, CEO of Australia and New Zealand, Unilever.

“We are proud to be taking this step forward, but no business can create a circular economy in isolation. Creating a local market and demand for all types of recycled plastic is critical and heavy lifting is needed from all players involved.”

Core strategies

This initiative follows earlier UK efforts that saw Unilever become the founding member of its multi-stakeholder initiative, The UK Plastics Pack. In April 2018, the company announced that it would change the UK's plastic packaging system and remove plastic from the oceans.

Focusing on providing information and advice, in April 2018 also, Unilever set up the On-Pack Recycling Label (ORPL) scheme, which provides guidance on its product portfolio.

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