Unilever aims to reduce, reuse and recycle

Finding solutions to deal with post-consumer waste

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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now