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Consumer goods giant Unilever vows to halve virgin plastics use by 2025

The business, whose brands include Dove, Ben & Jerry’s and Lipton, said it would achieve this by cutting its “absolute use of plastic packaging” by over 100,000 tonnes and “accelerating its use of recycled plastic.”


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October 7, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever has promised to cut its use of virgin plastics in half by 2025.

The business, whose brands include Dove, Ben & Jerry’s and Lipton, said it would achieve this by cutting its “absolute use of plastic packaging” by over 100,000 tonnes and “accelerating its use of recycled plastic.”

The reduction of the more than 100,000 tonnes will come from an absolute reduction as the business invests in multiple use packs (reusable and/or refillable), “no plastic” solutions (alternative packaging materials or naked products) and reduces the amount of plastic in existing packs (concentration). Replacing non-recycled plastic packaging with recycled plastics will account for the remaining reduction, the company said.

The firm also vowed to “help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.” Unilever’s current plastic packaging footprint is around 700,000 tonnes each year.

“Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment,” CEO Alan Jope said in an Oct. 7 statement. “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,” Jope continued. “We are also committed to ensuring all our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable. This demands a fundamental rethink in our approach to our packaging and products. It requires us to introduce new and innovative packaging materials and scale up new business models, like re-use and re-fill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity.”