Unilever have taken the leap and committed to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025, leading the way for other companies to follow.

  Unilever have become the first big household name to commit to an ambitious recyclable packaging scheme. The massive company who are the biggest food and drink manufacturer in the UK and Ireland have pledged to make all of their packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. Plastic is becoming a more and more popular resource, so why isn’t it being treated as such? According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation only 14% of the world’s plastic packaging makes its way back to recycling plants. It’s a big step forward for Unilever and the Environment as other companies are sure to follow suit. Ellen MacArthur sates that “By committing to ambitious circular economy goals for plastic packaging, Unilever is contributing to tangible system change and sends a strong signal to the entire fast-moving consumer goods industry. “Combining upstream measures on design and materials with post-use strategies demonstrates the system-wide approach that is required to turn the New Plastics Economy into reality.” Unilever have taken on the challenge to find a sustainable packaging solution but William McDonough, architect and circular economy leader is sceptical, stating that the cradle to cradle redesign of packaging is one of the great global design challenges of our time. They have a big task ahead of them and that’s not all that Unilever have committed to. They’ve also declared that they will renew their membership to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation for another three years, and in this publish a full “palette” of plastic materials used in their packaging by 2020. They will also; invest in proving and sharing a technical solution to recycle multi-layered sachets, reduce the weight of their current packaging by a third by 2020 and increase its use of recycled materials in its packaging by 25% by 2025. Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, said: “Our plastic packaging plays a critical role in making our products appealing, safe and enjoyable for our consumers. Yet it is clear that if we want to continue to reap the benefits of this versatile material, we need to do much more as an industry to help ensure it is managed responsibly and efficiently post consumer-use. “To address the challenge of ocean plastic waste we need to work on systemic solutions – ones which stop plastics entering our waterways in the first place. We hope these commitments will encourage others in the industry to make collective progress towards ensuring that all of our plastic packaging is fully recyclable and recycled. “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,” Polman concludes.