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Unilever aims for 50 per cent recycled content in N. American products

The consumer packaged goods company's new plan is designed to provide better choices for plastic packaging, add clear recycling instructions on packages, and launch a shopper education program in partnership with Walmart.


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April 12, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

Consumer packaged goods provider Unilever North America has pledging that its plastic packaging in North America will contain 50 per cent recycled content by the end of this year.

The Netherlands-based company’s new three-part plan – unveiled as part of retail giant Walmart Inc.’s sustainability meeting in Bentonville, Ark. – is designed to provide better choices for plastic packaging, add clear recycling instructions on packages, and launch a shopper education program in partnership with Walmart.

“We know that the response from the consumer goods industry is critical in determining the speed that positive change takes place around plastic packaging, and using less, better or no plastics is a priority at Unilever,” Amanda Sourry, president of Unilever North America, said in a statement. “Today, we are significantly accelerating our plastic packaging commitments in North America and are thrilled to be working alongside other industry leaders like Walmart to push these initiatives forward.”

In addition to reaching 50 per cent recycled content in plastic packaging this year, the Unilever North America announcements include adding “How2Recycle” labels on all packaging by 2021 as a way to reduce confusion about complex recycling systems; and partnering with Walmart on the “Bring it to the Bin” shopper education program, which incentivizes and educates customers about recycling all packaging, including products used in the bathroom, when it launches later this year.

“These Unilever initiatives are important steps, but we can’t create a circular economy for plastic packing in isolation,” Sourry said. “We need collective action to take the problem at the source.”

Unilever is one of the world’s largest suppliers of beauty & personal care, home care, and foods & refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries. In Canada and the U.S., Unilever’s portfolio includes Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Dove, Hellmann’s, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Love Beauty and Planet, Magnum, Nexxus, Noxzema, Pond’s, Popsicle, Pure Leaf, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, Simple, Sir Kensington’s, St. Ives, Suave, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TAZO, TIGI, TRESemmé, and Vaseline.