Unilever calls for a reduction in plastic packaging waste

Unilever is calling on the consumer industry to make efforts to tackle the challenge of plastic waste in the oceans and create a circular economy for this type of waste.

One year after Unilever pledged to develop 100% of its plastic packaging to be fully reusable, can be recycled or compostable by 2025. Paul Polman, the company’s CEO, announced that 10 companies have made similar pledges.

The executive called on more companies in the industry to join the initiative and take a step forward in progressing towards a circular economy and tackling plastic waste in the world’s natural systems, including rivers and oceans.

According to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), the equivalent of a truckload of plastic trash is thrown into the ocean every minute, and it is predicted that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the seas. Today, only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled.

Unilever promotes four key actions the consumer industry must take to create the change needed to accelerate the transition to a circular economy:

1.- That companies invest in innovation focused on a new delivery model that promotes reuse.

2.- For more companies to commit to making their packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to propose ambitious targets for the use of recycled content after use.

3.- Signing the Global Protocol on Plastics, establishing mutually agreed definitions and industry standards on what materials are placed on the market, to ensure that packaging is compatible with existing and cost-effective recycling infrastructures.

4.- That companies participate positively in political discussions with governments on the need to improve waste management infrastructure, including the implementation of extended producer responsibility schemes.

The CEO of Unilever explained that solving the problem of plastic waste in the ocean is a shared responsibility: “All stakeholders in the value chain must work together in alliances to find effective solutions. However, there is no doubt that the response of the consumer industry will be one of the most critical in determining the speed at which positive change occurs. “We are at a critical moment.”

Unilever reported that they have made good progress in reducing waste. Since 2010, the waste associated with the disposal of its products has decreased by 28%, and the weight of packaging has decreased by 15%. The company also stopped sending non-hazardous waste to landfills from its plants and distribution centers in 2015.

Source: Unilever.

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