Unilever pledges to halve virgin plastics use

Written by: Maddie Ballard | Published:
Unilever will halve its use of virgin plastic by 2025

Consumer goods giant Unilever has announced it will halve its use of virgin plastic and collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells by 2025.

This, it claims, will reduce its plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes per year and accelerate its use of recycled plastic.

These initiatives will be delivered through investment and partnerships to improve waste management infrastructure in many of the countries where Unilever operates.

Unilever is on track to meet its existing goals of having all its plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025, and by the same year having at least 25% of the plastic in its packaging be recycled.

It owns more than 400 brands including Dove, Comfort and Sure.

Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, said: “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.

“Our plastic is our responsibility and so we are committed to collecting back more than we sell, as part of our drive towards a circular economy.”

The company has been following an internal sustainability agenda since 2017, which it summarises as ‘less plastic, better plastic, no plastic’ – using less plastic packaging and more recycled plastic, and introducing innovations such as product refill options and ‘naked’ products.

Unilever is the first global consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its portfolio. Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, called the company’s announcement a “significant step” in developing a circular plastics economy.

“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. We urge others to follow their lead.”

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