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Cutting in half 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;
Helping to collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.
Unilever was already an industry leader in reducing its plastic use — it is 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.
Why This Matters: Unilever is making these moves unilaterally and not because it is forced to by government regulation. Their products are some of the most popular in their brand categories — such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and Dove skincare products. As a result, Unilever will have a virgin plastic packaging footprint of no more than 350,000 tons by 2025. And this sort of reduction is urgently needed — as evidenced by the amount of plastic in our environment everywhere — the SouthFlorida Sun-Sentinel published the latest tragic photos — this time of a dead baby sea turtle that washed ashore in Boca Raton with 04 pieces of plastic in its stomach.
How Will Unilever Do It
Since 2017, Unilever has been implementing its ‘Less, Better, No’ plastic framework. They have worked to reduce plastic by looking at new ways of packaging and delivering products – including concentrates, such as its new Cif Eco-refill which eliminates 75% of plastic, and new refill stations for shampoo and laundry detergent rolled out across shops, universities and mobile vending in South East Asia.
Ellen MacArthur, Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, hailed the announcement calling it “a significant step in creating a circular economy for plastic. 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.
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. 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.”
Photo: Gumbo Limbo Nature Center via South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The pandemic has upended most of our lives, but it has also made us more aware of our environment — clean air, birds in our neighborhood, and how much we love being outdoors. We are also appreciative more appreciative of the green spaces in and around our homes — whether it’s indoor plants, the tree […]
As the Ocean Conservancy explained, every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments. Many of these plastics are microscopic (smaller than 5 millimeters long) and are readily consumed by marine life as well as humans. Unfortunately, we […]
May is national bike month when usually there is a big push to get more people in the U.S. to bike to work and shop due to its environmental and health benefits – even during a global pandemic, the popularity of biking continues to rise.
Why This Matters: Leaders and urban planners in Europe believe that people there are now appreciative of the lack of air pollution and will want to keep the air clear, in addition to the benefits from a health and safety standpoint.
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