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Unilever urges consumer goods industry to step-up efforts on ocean packaging waste

Unilever is calling the consumer goods industry to accelerate action to tackle ocean packaging waste and create a circular economy for plastics.

Last year, the firm has announced its commitment to make its plastic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman said that the firm has welcomed the similar pledges made by ten companies recently.

Polman said: “It is welcome news that many other major companies are making their own commitments to address ocean plastic waste.

“Yet as a consumer goods industry, we need to go much further, much faster, in addressing the challenge of single use plastics by leading a transition away from the linear take-make-dispose model of consumption, to one which is truly circular by design.”

Unilever is also urging consumer goods industry to address plastic leakage into the world’s natural systems including waterways and oceans.

In order to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, Unilever suggests the companies to invest in innovation towards new delivery models that promote reuse as well as to commit to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025.

It also suggests the companies to engage with governments in policy discussions on the need for improvements to waste management infrastructure, including the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes.

Polman added: “Addressing the issue of ocean plastic is a shared responsibility – all stakeholders in the value chain must work together in partnership to find effective solutions.

“However, there is no doubt that the response from the consumer goods industry will be amongst the most critical in determining the speed at which positive change takes place. We are at a critical juncture.”

In addition to sourcing 25% of resin from post-consumer recycled content by 2025, Unilever aims to publish its full plastics palette before 2020.

Image: Unilever aims to make plastic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Photo: courtesy of Unilever.