Unilever To Halve Use of Virgin Plastic By 2025

by Bill McCool on 10/07/2019 | 2 Minute Read

Consumer goods superpower Unilever announced today that they intend to halve their usage of virgin plastic by 2025.

Unilever owns such stories brands as Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Hellmann’s and Lipton and they plan to reduce their plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes, while also increasing the amount of recycled plastic in their materials.

Additionaly, they aim to collect more packaging than they sell, saying that they’ll deliver on this promise through strategic investment and partnerships that will benefit waste infrastructure.

Editorial photograph

“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.” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a press release. “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,” he added.” 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.”

Unilever already had existing goals to cut down on their use of plastic, promising to make packaging that was reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025 and that 25% of their packaging would utilize recycled plastic.

"As one of the top five polluters of our planet, it is good to see Unilever step up to pledging serious plastic reduction," said A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland. "They are one of the few who show some intent to make a difference, and we encourage them to be transparent and eliminate wherever they can."

"Recycled plastic is still only one step away from the bin, incinerator, landfill, or ocean," she added. "There’s nothing circular in a downcycled toxic material. It is never going to be our final answer, and we need to admit this now. We need the power of Unilever investment in entirely new models: refill, reuse, and bio-materials that nature can cope with. Having just attended the world’s first Global Plastic Health Summit, I am acutely aware of the toxicity of plastic and its impact on our health, especially our children."

"Every time a manufacturer chooses plastic for packaging, they now choose a known consequence, and they must be responsible for it."

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