Unilever to meet waste target five years early

24 January 2013

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24 January 2013 | Adam Leach

FMCG manufacturer Unilever has brought forward its target date for sending zero waste to landfill from 2020 to 2015.

The company - which has pledged to halve its environmental impact while doubling sales - has already achieved the goal in 18 countries in which it operates and had pledged to eradicate all landfill use by 2020.

Today it announced it has so far removed the equivalent of one million household bins of rubbish from going to landfill and that it will move the 2020 global target five years forward to 2015.

In all, more than 130 Unilever sites are not sending any waste to landfill, which has delivered a cost saving of almost €70 million (£58.9 million). Speaking to SM, Tony Dunnage, eco-efficiency manager at Unilever, explained while stopping waste going to landfill through methods such as recycling is valuable, stopping it where it originates is the company’s main focus.

“The biggest thing for us is reduction at source. Two years ago we were very much focused on avoiding landfill, now our thinking is let’s measure the whole pie, including the recycling figure, and make sure we reduce at source. When any organisation looks at its impact in landfill versus cutting out the waste at source, the benefits are 10 or 20-fold better.”

Dunnage believes that focusing efforts on cutting out waste earlier on is what supply chains need to do. “Industry, manufacturing and supply chains need to get more engaged and in touch with the real supply chain issues in reduction at source,” he added.

“It is fantastic that we can talk about zero waste to landfill but we’ve got to push it up the chain.”

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