Our work on the SDGs
Unilever wants 100% recyclable plastic packagingUnilever puts effort in tackling the mounting challenge of ocean plastic waste and creates a circular economy for plastics
Unilever committed to ensure that all of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 as it called on the entire fast-moving consumer goods industry to accelerate progress towards the circular economy. One year after this commitment, CEO Paul Polman welcomed news that 10 companies have made similar pledges.
“It is welcome news that many other major companies are making their own commitments to address ocean plastic waste. Yet as a consumer goods industry, we need to go much further, much faster, in addressing the challenge of single use plastics by leading a transition away from the linear take-make-dispose model of consumption, to one which is truly circular by design”, said CEO Unilever Paul Polman.
Treating plastic packaging as a valuable resource to be managed efficiently and effectively is a key priority in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption & Production) and, in doing so, shifting away from a “take-make-dispose” model of consumption to one which is fully circular.
To help transform global plastic packaging material flows, Unilever has committed to:
Ensure all of its plastic packaging is designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
Renew its membership of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for another three years and endorse and support their New Plastics Economy initiative. As part of this, it will publish the full “palette” of plastics materials used in its packaging by 2020 to help create a plastics protocol for the industry
Invest in proving, and then sharing with the industry, a technical solution to recycle multi-layered sachets, particularly for coastal areas which are most at risk of plastics leaking into the ocean.
Alongside its commitment to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025, Unilever pledged to source 25% of its resin from post-consumer recycled content by 2025, and to publish its full plastics palette before 2020, as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
“We also need to work in partnership with governments and other stakeholders to support the development and scaling up of collection and reprocessing infrastructure which is so critical in the transition towards a circular economy. Ultimately, we want all of the industry’s plastic packaging to be fully circular by 2030.” Paul Polman, CEO Unilever
Unilever has made good progress on reducing its waste footprint. Since 2010, the waste associated with the disposal of its products has decreased by 28% and the weight of its packaging has reduced by 15%. The company also stopped sending non-hazardous waste to landfill from its manufacturing sites in 2015.
In 2017, the company announced it was making good progress on identifying a technical solution to recycling multi-layered sachets through its Creasolv technology, for which a pilot plant in Indonesia is currently being built to assess its commercial viability. Unilever intends to make this technology open source and would hope to scale it with industry partners, so others – including their competitors – can use it.More info about project ›
Lead business line
Impact on primary SDG
Impact on other SDGs
Targeted Region of execution
Caroline Boin Function
Senior Global Media Relations Manager, Unilever