Unilever Australia & New Zealand is planning to use at least 25% recycled plastic for the packaging of some of its brands.
The company intends to use Australian sourced post-consumer recycled plastic for bottles of its home and personal care brands such as OMO, Dove, Surf, Sunsilk and TRESemmé.
The initiative is expected to create an end market for around 750t of recycled plastic per year.
Unilever noted that the move will help accelerate Australia’s circular economy by creating local demand for rigid plastic recycled through local council yellow kerbside collection bins.
Unilever Australia & New Zealand CEO Clive Stiff said: “We want to give Australians confidence that for each bottle of OMO, Dove, Sunsilk, Surf or TRESemmé they buy, they are giving a new lease on life to the plastic they recycle in their yellow bins. In short, this move diverts plastic away from landfill.
“While we are making good progress on our packaging targets in Australia and New Zealand and this represents a significant step forward, there is more work to do with availability as well as economic and technical feasibility still major barriers in using recycled plastic content across our packaging.
“We also need to continue our work to reduce the amount of packaging we use whilst balancing this with delivering the quality of products our consumers expect.”
The company expects to source high volumes of locally recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, which is used in making plastic bottles for home cleaning and personal care products.
Last year, Unilever pledged that all of its plastic packagings will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 and use at least 25% recycled plastic packaging.
The firm highlighted the need to increase the rate of recycling as just 14% of plastic packaging is sent to recycling plants and around 40% ends up in the landfill.
Piloting and testing of the new recycled plastic bottles will be conducted later this year and the company expects to launch them for retail markets next year.