Unilever, owner of brands including Dove, Love Beauty & Planet (LBP), Seventh Generation, Lux, and Omo, announced it continues to make progress towards its ambitious commitments for a waste-free world, with more than 70 percent of the company’s packaging in MENA now recyclable. The achievement comes as part of Unilever’s global commitment to making its plastic packaging 100 percent recyclable by 2025, while also aiming for an absolute plastic reduction across its portfolio, the first major consumer goods company to do so.
In line with the company’s global commitment, Unilever MENA said it has implemented new packaging on a range of products. Its Lipton tea bags are biodegradable, while the outer pack of the existing Lipton pack was made recyclable by the local MENA Refreshments R&D team, an innovation which received the USA Packaging Impressions Excellence Award.
“Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment. A throwaway culture and business models continue to dominate our lives and damage our planet. Despite today’s challenging conditions, we remain committed towards the implementation of a circular economy for packaging where it is reused, recycled, or composted. We aim to cut the amount of plastic we use, and rapidly transition to a circular economy to stop it from ever finding its way into the environment,” commented Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Vice-President at Unilever MENA.
Across MENA, the company is working to reduce its use of virgin plastic in its packaging, following its commitment in 2019. Brands including Lux Handwash in the GCC and in Egypt have transitioned to post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) in their packaging while the packaging of newly introduced brands into MENA, such as LBP and Seventh Generation are made of 100 percent recycled plastic, as per the statement. To enable this transition, Unilever is developing local third-party capabilities for plastic collection and recycling, and signed an agreement with Bee’ah, in late 2019 to ensure local PCR development.
The company is also providing support for entrepreneurial efforts to develop new measures toward plastics and plastics collection. The winning team of the Unilever Gulf Young Entrepreneur Awards 2018 were awarded funding to support their work on plastic collection from ocean shorelines. Unilever is working with a wide range of partners across MENA to ensure the design and deployment of producer responsibility schemes in the region that will help collect and process plastic packaging via collection and processing and through supporting the development of well-designed extended producer responsibility schemes in which Unilever will take responsibility for its packaging. These partners include regulatory bodies, NGOs, and competitors in the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan.