Unilever aims to reduce, reuse and recycle

Finding solutions to deal with post-consumer waste

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Refills in our home and personal care portfolio to make it possible to reuse the primary pack

As paraphrased from the HUL website: Increasing resource scarcity means it is more urgent than ever to be efficient with packaging and to find solutions to deal with post-consumer waste. We purchase over 2.4 million tonnes of packaging a year and we are determined to reduce the absolute amount of materials we use and to ensure they are reused or recycled.

We are on track to meet our 2020 commitment. Our total footprint from packaging waste to landfill has reduced by 11%. We are deploying new technologies to lightweight packaging and cutting-edge techniques to optimize material use across hundreds of different designs. We are also working with others to stimulate recycling infrastructures, particularly for materials which are important to us but which are more difficult to recycle or recover, such as sachets in developing countries or aluminium aerosol sprays. This can take time but is crucial for the long-term. Key initiatives in this direction are:

Reduce waste from manufacturing

By 2015 all manufacturing sites will achieve zero non-hazardous waste to landfill. Total production waste sent for disposal will be at or below Y2008 levels despite higher production volumes.

Reduce packaging

By 2020 we will reduce the weight of packaging that we use by one-third through lightweighting materials; optimizing structural and material design; developing concentrated versions of our products and eliminating unnecessary packaging.

Recycle packaging

We will make it easier for consumers to recycle our packaging by using materials that best fit the end-of-life treatment facilities available in their countries. By 2020 we will increase the recycled material content in our packaging to maximum possible levels. This will act as a catalyst to increase recycling rates.

Reuse packaging

We will provide consumers with refills in our home and personal care portfolio to make it possible to reuse the primary pack.

Tackle sachet waste

Our goal is to develop and implement a sustainable business model for handling our sachet waste streams by 2015.

Eliminate PVC

Approximately 99.99% of PVC was removed from our portfolio by end 2012.

Reduce office waste

In our top 21 countries, at least 90% of our office waste will be reused, recycled or recovered by 2015 and we will send zero waste to landfill by 2017. By 2015 we will reduce paper consumption by 30% for every person in our top 21 countries. We will eliminate paper in our invoicing, goods receipt, purchase order processes, financial reporting and employee expense processing by 2015, where legally allowable and technically possible. 92% of our office waste was reused, recycled or recovered in 2013.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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