Fifty percent of the plastic used in Unilever North America packaging will come from post-consumer recycled content by the end of the year.
President Amanda Sourry announced this and other plans Wednesday at the Walmart Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting in Bentonville, Ark.
“We know that the response from the consumer goods industry is critical in determining the speed that positive change takes place around plastic packaging, and using less, better, or no plastics is a priority at Unilever,” said Sourry. “Today, we are significantly accelerating our plastic packaging commitments in North America and are thrilled to be working alongside other industry leaders like Walmart to push these initiatives forward.”
Additionally, Unilever has been working with voluntary label company How2Recycle to address recycling confusion. By 2021, How2Recycle instruction labels will be on all Unilever North America packaging, providing clear recycling instructions on the packaging of its entire mass-market portfolio.
The Englewood Cliffs-based company will also partner with Walmart on a shopper education program dubbed “Bring it to the Bin,” which incentivizes and educated customers about recycling all packaging.
“These Unilever initiatives are important steps, but we can’t create a circular economy for plastic packaging in isolation,” said Sourry. “We need collective action to tackle the problem at the source by working with forward-thinking companies like Walmart, advocating for systemic change in government and recycling facilities, working closely with plastics suppliers, and educating consumers. Only together will we answer the urgent call made by the plastics issue we are facing.”
Since introducing its Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, Unilever has successfully met multiple waste-reduction goals. The company decreased the weight of its packaging by 18 percent since 2010, ultimately meaning less plastic is used to package products. Total waste footprint per customer has also reduced since 2010 a total of 31 percent.