Fairy liquid bottles will be made from 100% recycled or partially-recycled material. © Chris Dorney/123RF
Fairy liquid bottles will be made from 100% recycled or partially-recycled material. © Chris Dorney/123RF

P&G pledges to increase recycled plastics by 9,000 tonnes

28 October 2019

Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has promised to increase the amount of recycled plastic used in its supply chain by 9,000 tonnes in Europe by 2020.

The firm is reducing its virgin plastic use and adopting a circular economy approach by converting 300m bottles of household cleaning products into 100% recycled or partially-recycled packaging each year. The move is part of a commitment to cut virgin plastic by 50% by 2030. 

Elvan Onal, vice president for Home Care products at P&G in Europe, said: “Our work in minimising our footprint goes beyond just the bottle – through our Life Cycle Assessment, we look holistically at our impact from product design to transit to consumer use, all the way through to end of life to ensure we are responsible stewards of our resources from beginning to end.”

The company said cleaning products had been “optimised” to be effective at lower temperatures so consumers, who in the UK according to P&G wash dishes on average at 47C, could “cut their carbon footprint by up to 50%”.

Meanwhile, manufacturer SC Johnson has partnered with think tank Plastic Bank to create recycling infrastructure across several developing countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – four of the five largest contributors to ocean pollution.

The partnership is a three-year project that incentivises residents to collect plastic and recycle it at one of 509 new collection centres in exchange for digital savings and rewards. A program using blockchain technology will provide tokens for healthcare coverage, school tuition, local currency and more.

The recycled plastic will be made into 100% “social plastic” bottles and sold. It will be used in the packaging of SC Johnson’s Windex line in February 2020.

SC Johnson's scheme aims to collect 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste over three years – the equivalent to eliminating 1.5bn plastic bottles from polluting rivers and oceans globally.

Separately, energy firm BP plans to build a $25m pilot plant in the US in 2020 that uses new technology to convert previously non-recyclable PET plastic into recycled raw materials that are interchangeable with traditional hydrocarbons and can be recycled repeatedly.

And the UK government has awarded £1m to two technology companies to create the first digital waste tracking programme that will prevent illegal waste from being mislabelled and shipped abroad.

Digital company Anthesis and waste analytics firm Topolytics will receive the grant and build the system using technology such as blockchain, electronic chips, sensors, and QR codes.

According to an independent review by the Home Office last year a “lack of digital record-keeping is exploited by organised criminals who mislabel waste to avoid landfill tax or illegally export it”.

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