Unilever Commits to Waste-free World

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Oluchi Chibuzor

Unilever Plc has announced new commitments to reduce plastic waste and help create a circular economy for plastics by 2025.

 The company also confirmed that by 2025, it would halve 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, help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells. 

This, the company said was in line to achieve existing commitments to ensure all of its plastic packaging was reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to use at least 25 percent recycled plastic in its packaging, also by 2025. 

A statement quoted the Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, Alan Jope, to have said plastic has its place, “but that its place is not in the environment,” 

The move, according to him, would require the company to help collect and process around 600,000 tonnes of plastic annually by 2025, to be delivered through investment and partnership which improve waste management infrastructure in many of the countries in which Unilever operates.

According to him, “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.

“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,” he said.

Commenting on the initiative, Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Ellen MacArthur, said, the announcement by Unilever was 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. 

 

“We urge others to follow their lead, so collectively we can eliminate the plastic we don’t need, innovate, so what we do need is circulated, and ultimately builds an economic system where plastic packaging never becomes waste.”