Plastic packaging re-examined

There’s a lot of plastic waste in the environment, some of it bearing our name, and we don’t like it. Plastic’s function in our business is being radically rethought.

Plastic is a very precious commodity. It assists us in delivering our products to customers in a safe and timely manner. It has the smallest carbon impact when compared to other materials. Regardless, far too much plastic makes its way into our environment. According to global study, the annual flow of plastic into the ocean might triple by 2040. This has to come to an end.

The way we think about products and packaging is evolving. According to research, the bulk of the remedies we need are already available, but we must fix the broken plastic system in order to protect our oceans and marine ecosystems. We need new ways for clients to have easy access to items that produce less trash on a daily basis. By collecting, processing, and reusing plastic in a circular loop system, we hope to keep it in use for as long as feasible.

We’ve set lofty goals for ourselves, such as reducing the amount of virgin plastic we use, increasing the use of recycled plastic, and only using reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging. We’re also supporting data collecting and processing infrastructure.

How much plastic do we use on a daily basis?

We’ve decoupled our plastic packaging footprint from the volume of products we sell, so while there hasn’t been a big drop in the amount of plastic we use, there has been a consistent decrease in relative terms.

Plastic that is better

When we utilize plastic, we make care to use superior alternatives, such as recycled and recyclable plastics. So far, we believe that roughly half of our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

We keep plastics in the system and out of the environment by purchasing post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. We’re increasing the amount of recycled plastic we use, and PCR now accounts for about 11% of our plastic footprint. This puts us on schedule to meet our goal of 25% by 2025.

In North America and Europe, for example, our Dove cosmetics brand employs 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. Our Love Beauty and Planet hair and skin care line’s bottles are constructed entirely of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), and we plan to use it in bottle caps and pumps as well.

In our quest for better plastic, we’re up against a slew of technical obstacles. We’re trying out new ways of working, like chemical recycling for the most difficult-to-recycle plastics, like multi-layered and flexible packaging.

The same technical and safety criteria apply to recycled plastic packaging as they do to virgin plastic, which are higher for food packaging. To overcome this barrier, our Magnum ice cream brand cooperated with a vendor to introduce recycled plastic ice cream tubs.

In Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, our dilutable laundry detergents are created with recyclable plastic and are less expensive than undiluted detergents. 

Plastic collection and processing

We won’t be able to achieve our ‘better plastic’ targets unless there is a sufficient supply of high-quality post-consumer recycled materials. There is plenty of plastic in the system, but there are some significant obstacles. Local collection and sorting facilities are required to convert plastic trash and pollution into usable material. To make collecting and recycling materials commercially viable, there must also be technological innovation and innovative solutions.

There will be less plastic

Sometimes the best strategy to decrease plastic is to completely rethink how we design and package items. Simply reducing the amount of material in a product by a few grammes can have a significant impact across an entire product line. We’ve already reduced the weight of our packaging by a fifth in the last decade thanks to improved and lighter designs.

Customers are encouraged to think of bottles of our cleaning and laundry goods as a ‘bottle for life,’ similar to how they may conceive of a ‘bag for life,’ which they might use for shopping.

Ultra-concentrated products enable us to provide the same products to customers while using far less plastic and packaging. Comfort’s ultra-concentrated laundry solutions require less product than any other on the market. Love Beauty & Planet’s concentrated shampoos and conditioners provide the same number of uses while using half the plastic.