LONDON – Unilever PLC announced plans to halve its non-recycled plastic packaging by 2025.
The company, which currently uses around 700,000 tons of plastic packaging each year, also is aiming to collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.
The announcement makes Unilever the first major global CPG company to commit to an absolute plastic reduction across its portfolio.
Investments in reusable or refillable containers, alternative packaging materials and concentrated plastic packaging will reduce more than 100,000 tons of virgin plastic, the company said. The remaining 250,000-ton reduction will be accomplished by replacing virgin plastic with recycled plastic.
Unilever said it already is on track to meet its existing recycling goals, which include ensuring all its packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
The new commitment also requires that the company collect and process 600,000 tons of plastic annually, which will be accomplished through investments and partnerships that improve waste management and infrastructure in many of the countries in which it operates, said Alan Jope, CEO at Unilever.
“Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment,” Jope said. “We can only eliminate plastic waste by acting fast and taking radical action at all points in the plastic cycle. This demands a fundamental rethink in our approach to our packaging and products.”