Unilever, the parent brand that’s responsible for making Ben & Jerry’s and Dove products, is taking action to help combat climate change, and make their brand a little greener. The company announced this week that they’re pledging to reduce their annual plastic use by half within the next coming years.
In 2018, the company used around 772,000 tons of plastic, according to CNN, and by 2025 they plan to use no more than 386,000 tons. The company plans on accomplishing this massive goal by incorporating more reusable and refillable packaging into their products, and taking advantage of recycled materials to use as well. Additionally, they hope to adopt more “naked” packaging, meaning unwrapped without any plastic at all. Incorporating these new methods and transitioning from their current production system to adapt to this more Eco-friendly one will take time, hence the 2025 estimation.
“There is a lot of plastic pollution in the environment, and the fact of the matter is too much of it carries our name. This problem demands a fundamental rethink in our company’s approach to packaging and products. It requires us to introduce new and innovative materials, and scale up new business models, like reuse and refill formats, at an unprecedented speed and intensity,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a statement.
According to CNN, Unilever’s products are used in over 190 countries by 2.5 billion people daily! Think of the environmental impact it would have if all those people began using products made from recycled materials with little to no waste. This move is part of the company’s ongoing effort to make their products more green, they’ve already began selling ice cream bars wrapped in non-plastic packaging, and has transitioned a lot of their cleaning products to be distributed in reusable bottles so customers can buy the cleaning solutions in bulk, and refill their containers. Unilever is also one of the first major companies to become a part of a service known as Loop, that is taking the green product market by storm.
“Loop is a new way to shop, offering about 300 items — from Tide detergent to Pantene shampoo, Häagen-Dazs ice cream to Crest mouthwash — all in reusable packaging. After using the products, customers put the empty containers in a Loop tote on their doorstep. The containers are then picked up by a delivery service, cleaned and refilled, and shipped out to consumers again. In other words, it’s the 21st century milk man — here to save the world from single-use plastics,” according to CNN.
Consumers and administrators of Unilever alike have all recently begun to notice how much single-use plastic is being used worldwide, and how much it’s contributing to the deterioration of our planet. Plastic is projected to outnumber fish in the world’s oceans by 2050, according to CNN, and the plastic that doesn’t end up in the ocean piles up in landfills, emitting greenhouse gases and further contributing to climate change. So, in an effort to combat that prediction Unilever has committed to making all the plastic it uses for its products completely reusable, refillable, recyclable, and compostable by 2025. It hopes that all products used with recycled plastic will make up about 25% of its inventories. To accomplish that 25%, Unilever plans on collecting and processing more plastic that they can recycle and reuse. The company plans on investing more in waste collection processes and expanding the amount of products it distributes through the Loop program. Hopefully more companies take note of Unilever’s massive contribution to the environment with this set plan, and join them on the journey to save our planet.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.