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Unilever Brand FAB Launches Its First 100% Recycled Plastic Bottle In Colombia

August 30, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The company will permanently migrate all packaging for its FAB laundry brand’s liquid detergent portfolio in Colombia to 100% PCR plastic, reducing need for virgin plastic by over 78 tonnes per year. This move is one of the first high-density polyethylene (HDPE) 100% PCR bottles for brands that sit under its global Dirt is Good theme. Because the recycling industry in Colombia is weak, with limited infrastructure, Unilever worked with specialist recycling company Biocirculo, which centrally sorts waste plastic collected by over 80 recyclers in Bogotá, ensuring sufficient PCR plastic. FAB will also run ads on TV, online and in-store to raise consumer awareness about sorting waste, and especially plastic, at home.[Image Credit: © Unilever]
"We’ve launched our first 100% recycled plastic bottle in Colombia", Unilever, August 30, 2019, © Unilever
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Consumers Are At The Heart Of Plastic Reduction Efforts, But Retailers Are Responding

August 30, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
According to Euromonitor, nearly two-thirds (63%) of containers for food, drinks, home, beauty and pet food are plastic, because of its durability, versatility and other characteristics. Recycling or reuse rates, however, are not high enough, partly because of consumer confusion over what can be recycled, perpetuated by a lack of standardization in packaging. Few countries have the recycling infrastructure and rates of Germany, which runs deposit schemes for plastic bottles, but the effort to increase rates is also hampered by consumers being used to disposing of items. Change is afoot. Consumers are more alive to plastic waste issues. Surveys suggest they are more willing today than two years ago to pay more for options that are better for the environment. Retailers like IKEA and UK-based Iceland are reacting to this change. IKEA is stopping the use of oil-based plastics, pledging to manufacture 100% of its products from recycled materials from August next year. It is also ending the use of single-use plastic products from stores and restaurants. Iceland has announced removal of plastic containers from private label products by 2023, using paper trays rather than plastic. [Image Credit: © mohamed Hassan from Pixabay]
Alison Angus and Gina Westbrook , "Un mundo libre de plástico – A world free of plastic", Euromonitor International, August 30, 2019, © Euromonitor
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The Better McDonald’s Berlin Store Gives The Company Food For Thought

August 28, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
In June this year, McDonald’s opened a concept store for 10 days in Berlin aimed at exploring plastic-free options, eliciting customer feedback and starting debate. The Better McDonald’s Store offered paper straws and wooden cutlery, and edible waffle cups for condiments, wrapped sandwiches in grass-based packaging, and presented Chicken McNuggets in paper bags instead of cardboard boxes. The company said that the response was “very positive”, the grass wrapper was a “hit in terms of eco-friendliness and ease of use”, and the waffle cups were seen as a good way of replacing condiment sachets and containers. Customers were happy with the eco-friendliness of the paper straws, but less so about their ease of use and durability, and believed they wouldn’t miss lids on containers. The wooden cutlery experiment wasn’t a hit. 

McDonald’s also said that it is working on other options in its normal restaurants. In Germany, in-house hot drinks are served in porcelain or glass mugs, and McCafé locations in Germany invite customers to bring their own cups in exchange for a 10 cent discount. Selected restaurants in Germany are running a 1 euro deposit system (ReCup) for reusable carry out cups. In the UK, McDonald’s will no longer sell McFlurry products with plastic lids and it is removing single-use plastic from salads, using 100% renewable and recyclable cardboard containers instead. In Canada, the restaurants are using smaller napkins, made from 100% recycled fiber, and switching McWrap® cartons to McWrap wraps. [Image Credit: © McDonald's Corporation]
"What we learned from Berlin’s plastic-free McDonald’s experiment", McDonald’s, August 28, 2019, © McDonald's Corporation
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Coke and Pepsi To Leave Plastics Industry Association

August 23, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have told Greenpeace USA of their decision to withdraw from the Plastics Industry Association. Greenpeace highlights the dichotomy of pledging to end plastic pollution at the same time as supporting bodies that lobby for continued reliance on single-use plastic. Greenpeace says that The Plastics Industry Association uses the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) as a front to advocate against plastic bans in the US. Greenpeace says 15 states have to date passed “pro-pollution preemption laws”. [Image Credit: © Darko Djurin from Pixabay]
Perry Wheeler, "Industry giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo ditching pro-plastics lobbying association", Greenpeace, August 23, 2019, © Greenpeace
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Coca-Cola Ireland Moves To 50 Percent Recycled Plastic Packaging

August 20, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Ireland announced that all of its 500 ml and smaller packs are now being made from 50 percent recycled plastic (rPET). “Take-home" packs, which include all bottles larger than 500ml, have moved to 25 percent rPET. The recycled material will be incorporated across Coca-Cola's full portfolio, which includes Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Fanta, and Sprite. The company said the investment in recycled PET, combined with other sustainability measures across its packs, will take approximately 2,000 tons of virgin plastic from circulation in Ireland each year.[Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]
"Coca-Cola Ireland Moves To 50 percent Recycled Plastic In Its "On-The-Go" Packs", Hospitality Ireland, August 20, 2019, © Hospitality Ireland
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Suntory Pursues “Bottle-To-Bottle” Plastics Project

August 19, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
After China’s 2017 decision to stop importing other countries’ plastic waste, Japan needed to quickly find alternative destinations for its waste in regions like Southeast Asia. However, Malaysia and the Philippines have followed China’s lead and vowed to turn away shipments of plastic waste, unwilling to serve as dumping grounds for first-world garbage. Japanese leaders are considering a number of potential solutions to the growing problem, including boosting the capabilities of incinerators to burn plastic refuse as fuel for generating energy, and increasing the recycling of soft drink bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Suntory has become the first major Japanese beverage company to move toward closed-loop recycling when in May it announced an initiative to use PET drink bottles made completely from old containers. It is partnering on the project with Kyōei Industry, which has developed a method for creating high-quality PET resin from recycled plastic bottles. The bottle-to-bottle movement gained momentum after a 2009 study showed that manufacturing PET bottles from used plastic emits 63 percent less CO2 than using petroleum does.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]
Miyake Reiko, "Refuse to Resource: Suntory’s Bottle-to-Bottle Initiative to Reshape Plastic Recycling", Nippon.com, August 19, 2019, © Nippon Communications Foundation
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Kimberly-Clark Outlines Its Efforts To Reduce Plastics Use

August 17, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Kimberly-Clark’s global sustainability lead for products and packaging, Daniel Locke, discussed the company’s Sustainability 2022 strategy, launched in 2016. The goals included diverting 150,000 metric tonnes of waste materials from landfill by recycling or upcycling, without specifying composition of the waste. Locke said that the company used to focus on packaging efficiency and light-weighting but, although that remains a laudable aim, it is moving to making it more recyclable, degradable or reusable. The company has not yet issued a specific “multi-pronged plastics strategy”, but it has created a dedicated UK Plastics Pact team in the UK, tasked with finding non-recyclable packaging and developing formats that are lightweight and made from recyclable plastics or alternative materials. In the UK, it’s scaling its ‘RightCycle’ scheme, launched in the US in 2011, that enables business clients to recycle disposable hygiene products, such as gloves and shoe covers, into inflexible plastic items, like plant pots. The effort to improve recyclability is being matched by on-pack messaging to help consumers better recycle. But, Locke argues, recyclability isn’t enough, and a circular economy will also need other options, such as refills and reuse. It recently launched its first refillable product, for its Huggies wet wipes. [Image Credit: © Shirley Hirst from Pixabay]
"Inside Kimberly-Clark's plastics packaging strategy", edie newsroom, August 17, 2019, © Faversham House Ltd
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Unilever Japan To Use Recycled Plastic For New Products

August 16, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Japan announced that, for new products, instead of using virgin PET it will start using 95% recycled plastic packaging in the second half of 2019 and 100% recycled plastic by the end of 2020. It will start with new products from three brands Lux, Dove and Clear. The move is part of the company’s focus on LBN-P (Less / Better / No-Plastic) as a way “deplasticize,” and part of the company’s broader goal to make 100% of its plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to ensure at least 25% of plastic used comes from recycled sources. Unilever said the effort excludes plastic that is currently technically difficult to convert due to additives such as colorants.[Image Credit: © Unilever]
"Unilever Japan to shift all packaging to 100% recycled plastic by end 2020", Unilever , August 16, 2019, © Unilever
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DASANI Announces Series Of Plastic Reduction Initiatives

August 13, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
DASANI’s owner, The Coca-Cola Company, has pledged to make its bottles and cans with an average of 50% recycled material by 2030. In support of this goal, DASANI announced a “robust pipeline” of efforts to lower its plastic footprint. Its HybridBottle, which is made with a mix of up to 50% plant-based renewable and recycled PET, will be available nationally in 20-ounce bottles in mid-2020. It will rollout up to 100 additional DASANI PureFill water dispensers, starting in fall 2019. DASANI will also introduce new aluminum cans and new aluminum bottles. The cans will be introduced in the Northeast this fall with both available nationally in 2020. Other initiatives include adding “How2Recycle” labels to all DASANI packages and ongoing “light-weighting” across its product portfolio.[Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]
"DASANI® Takes Steps to Reduce Plastic Waste Through Increased Use of Recycled Materials, Expanded Package Innovation", Coca-Cola , August 13, 2019, © The Coca-Cola Company
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UK Government Backs c – Edible, Plastic-Free Drink Packaging

August 13, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Oohos – containers for drinks up to 100ml – are made entirely from Notpla, a seaweed extract that fully biodegrades in four to six weeks. Ooho manufacturer, also called Notpla, received funding from the UK Government to bring the innovation closer to commercialization, with a broader aim of developing a vending machine for use in gyms or restaurants. It envisions the machine could dispense up to 3,000 Oohos a day, with consumers selecting the drink. Notpla is working closely with Lucozade Ribena Suntory. It sampled 36,000 Lucozade Sport Oohos at the 2019 Virgin Media London Marathon and LRS is working to include Lucozade Sports as an option for the Ooho drink dispenser.[Image Credit: © Notpla Limited]
"Lucozade-Backed Edible Packaging Gets Government Funding ", Lucozade Ribena Suntory , August 13, 2019, © Lucozade Ribena Suntory
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Pressure To Cut Plastics Use Sways Coke Toward Aluminum Cans For Dasani

August 13, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

Under pressure to reduce plastic use in packaging, Coca-Cola Co. will start selling Dasani in aluminum cans in the U.S. Northeast next month, and in other parts of the country in 2020. PepsiCo Inc. said recently it would try selling its mainstream water brand Aquafina in cans at restaurants and stadiums. Aluminum cans generally contain more recycled material than plastic bottles and are less likely to float away in the ocean. Dasani and Aquafina are the top two bottled brands in the U.S., with combined sales north of $2 billion. Coke also plans to introduce a “hybrid” Dasani bottle, with half of the materials from a combination of plants and recycled plastic. [Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]
Craig Giammona, "Coke Putting Dasani Water in Cans Amid Backlash Against Plastic", Bloomberg, August 13, 2019, © Bloomberg LP
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RB Pushes Gray As Greener

August 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
This summer RB is launching a tub for its Finish Quantum Ultimate that is made from 30% recycled polypropylene (rPP) content. Unlike PET, which has a well-established recycling infrastructure and which can be recycled in light colors that are close to virgin PET, rPP is the ‘ugly duckling’ of plastic recycling. rPP comes from a wide range of polypropylene uses – bottle caps, ketchup bottles, yogurt pots… –  is difficult to process and comes out gray. Veolia worked with RB to develop rPP to several strict technical criteria. Instead of using masking pigments or additives, RB says it wishes to make a statement and is using this color as a point of difference and saying it is “proudly grey.” It claims to be the first FMCG company using rPP at scale. This move is part of RB’s commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable and for it to contain at least 25% recycled content by 2025.[Image Credit: © Reckitt Benckiser Group plc]
"From black to grey – all part of our commitment to going green", Reckitt Benckiser, August 08, 2019, © Reckitt Benckiser Group plc
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Unilever’s Magnum Ice Cream Launches Some Plastic Jars Made With Recycled Plastic

August 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Magnum said it would be the first ice cream brand to use recycled polypropylene plastic for its packaging. In a limited trial it will launch 600,000 new Magnum jars in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands, then release over 3 million in 2020 as it goes worldwide. Recycled polypropylene (rPP) has been used before for beauty and hygiene care applications but not for food packaging. To develop a solution, Unilever has worked with chemicals company SABIC since early 2018. Unilever did not indicate the percentage of plastic that is recycled, but acknowledged it uses a ‘mass balancing’ approach. It proclaimed the effort as part of its plan to ensure that by 2025 25% of plastic used in its packaging is recycled.[Image Credit: © Unilever]
"Magnum launches the first recycled plastic jars", Unilever France, August 08, 2019, © Unilever
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Lidl Introduces Reusable Bags For Fruit And Vegetables

August 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

To help prevent use of flimsy disposable plastic bags used to hold fruit and vegetables, Lidl has introduced reusable bags that cost 69p (~$1) for two. It claims to be the first supermarket in the UK to introduce such bags. The effort is part of Lidl’s plan to reduce plastic packaging by 20% by 2022. The move follows similar action by other retailers such as Morrisons and Sainsbury’s that have removed plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables, encouraging consumers to use their own bags.[Image Credit: © Lidl Great Britain Limited]
"Lidl Becomes First Uk Supermarket To Introduce Reusable Fruit And Veg Bags Nationwide ", Lidl , August 08, 2019, © Lidl Great Britain Limited
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Proposed Legislation In California Addresses Public Concern But Meets Industry Resistance

August 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Three proposed pieces of legislation in California seek to support the state’s struggling recycling industry and shift pressure to manufacturers that use plastic. Recyclers are battling with the consequences of China’s decision to restrict imports of unsorted paper and certain plastics, which has caused oversupply of recyclable material and lowered the price of recycled materials in the US. Also, low gas prices mean plastic is relatively cheap to produce and reduced California State subsidies mean recycling is becoming uneconomic. In one illustration of the difficulties the industry faces, rePlanet, a large collector of beverage bottles and cans, announced it would close its 284 collection centers in California, due to deteriorating economics.

Two of the proposed bills would require manufacturers to reduce waste from packaging as well as certain plastic products, while the third would require manufacturers to progressively boost minimum recycled content in plastic beverage bottles over the next decade or face substantial penalties that rise with how much they miss the target. 

Industry groups, including the American Beverage Association, the American Chemistry Council, and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association, are working to oppose or change the legislation, raising concerns about the impact on consumers of plastic bans or excessively restrictive regulation. 

Public opinion looks to be on the side of stricter rules. A survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found 72% of Californians see plastics and marine debris as a big problem on their nearest beaches.[Image Credit: © rePlanet, LLC]
Rachel Becker, "Tired of plastic junk? California’s recycling bills propose dramatic new rules", CalMatters, August 08, 2019, © CalMatters
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Beth Newhart KDP Ups Its Recyclability Targets For Next Six Years

August 6, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP), in its first corporate responsibility report since the merger with Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper Snapple Group last year, says it wants to make all its K-Cup pods recyclable in the U.S. by 2020, converting to 100 percent recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025, and sending zero waste to landfills by 2025. The firm also wants to improve its water use efficiency by 20 percent by 2025 and obtain 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. In 2018, KDP succeeded in making its Canadian K-Cup pods 100 percent recyclable. “We’ve set ambitious goals to ensure we are making a positive impact every day,” said CEO Bob Gamgort.[Image Credit: © Keurig Dr Pepper Inc.]
"One year into its merger, KDP sets fresh sustainability goals", Beverage Daily, August 06, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Survey Shows UK Consumers Have Poor Understanding Of Film Recycling

August 5, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of over 1,000 consumers in the UK by bpi protect, a manufacturer of plain and printed flexible packaging, found that just half were aware that plastic film could be recycled. Recycling plastic film is possible but somewhat problematic and needs special processing. Although 47% thought it could be recycled at their council recycling centre, only one in 10 local authorities actually recycle plastic film and only 18% recycle carrier bags. Yet 93% said they would like to be able to recycle plastic films more easily. The survey highlighted general confusion about which plastics can be recycled and how, and which can’t. It also surfaced the importance of packaging in consumer choice, with over half saying they’d prefer to purchase a product with recyclable or with recycled content over one that didn’t.[Image Credit: © RPC bpi group]
"Research shows consumers’ understanding of plastic film recycling has a long way to go", RPC bpi protect, August 05, 2019, © RPC bpi group
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P&G Rethinking Brands Around Power Of Purpose

August 5, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
In April, P&G announced its “Ambition 2030” goals that would “enable and inspire positive impact on the environment and society.” As part of this effort, the company set out its “Brand 2030” criteria that outline actions brands can take to become a “force for good and force for growth.” In an August interview with Forbes, P&G's Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias, gave some details, saying the process starts with the brand defining its specific ambition: “What is their social or environmental commitment that they are going to choose? It needs to be measurable, it needs to authentically fit with the brand equity so there is no ‘greenwashing,’ and it needs to be brought to life with tangible acts.”

Actions are built around this brand ambition, with innovation to change packaging, communication to promote responsible consumption and reductions in the environmental impact across the supply chain. Helias gives Herbal Essences as an example. It defined its ambition as ‘enabling people to experience the positive power of nature and protect biodiversity,’ which guided the brand to secure a partnership with and endorsement from Kew Botanical Gardens, a global authority on plants. In another illustration, Head & Shoulders built a bottle from recycled beach plastic, a move that inspired even sustainability skeptics and caused the brand to change its equity color from white to gray to reflect the color of recycled plastic. Helias says this was a “brilliant, consumer-friendly idea and people wanted to be part of this, making it exciting and cool."[Image Credit: © Procter & Gamble]
Afdhel Aziz, "The Power Of Purpose: How Virginie Helias And P&G Are Making Sustainability 'Irresistible'", Forbes Media , August 05, 2019, © Forbes Media LLC
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A Push To Avoid Vague Environmental Terms Like ‘Biodegradable’

July 31, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Language around plastics is getting tighter and retailers and suppliers may find themselves on the back foot. In an opinion piece in Grocer, Karen Bird rails against brands that describe packaging as ‘degradable’ or ‘biodegradable’ when such plastics do not fully degrade but pollute with long-lasting microplastics. She calls for precision in labeling to better inform rather than confuse consumers, saying that it is “irresponsible to use equivocal language.” A shift to clearer langue on plastics would reflect broader developments in the description of environmental and climate concerns. For example, in May, The Guardian updated its style guide, pointing to a range of scientific and professional commentary that suggests previous terms are inadequate or misleading. The media company will switch ‘climate change’ for ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global warming’ for ‘global heating’. [Image Credit: © meineresterampe from Pixabay.com]
Karen Bird, "Fmcg should stop using vague environmental terms like ‘biodegradable’", The Grocer, July 31, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Henkel Shares Easyd4r, A Software Tool For Evaluating Recyclability Of Packaging

July 30, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Henkel is making available for download a tool it developed to quickly assess the recyclability of packaging. It’s intended to be used during the early stages of packaging development and help guide developers to more sustainable solutions. It holds data about packaging material drawn from Plastics Recyclers Europe and Henkel says it’s used throughout the company.  Independent tests by Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT affirmed the tool’s accuracy. Henkel says it’s been well received and German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt has set EasyD4R as a standard for all its suppliers. It can be downloaded here: https://www.henkel.com/sustainability/sustainable-packaging/easyd4r[Image Credit: © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA]
"Henkel shares software tool for evaluating the recyclability of packaging", Henkel , July 30, 2019, © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
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Unilever Looks At Reuse-Refill Options

July 30, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that about 95% of the value of plastic packaging is lost after one use, and that replacing just 20% of single-use plastic packaging with reusable alternatives is worth over $10 billion.  As part of its efforts to reduce plastic use and potentially capture some of that opportunity, Unilever is looking at reuse-refill options. It highlights five examples it’s currently running: Cif Ecorefill bottle, Loop products, Algramo Van, Refillery at Marks & Spencer’s and 3L omo bottles stand.

The company emphasizes that success is very dependent on consumers changing their behavior, a factor it can’t control. Some solutions, such as a dispensing machine in a store, require consumers to wash containers and take them to stores for refilling. A solution using more concentrated product requires educating consumers that less is better, or that having to add water doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of the product. Unilever says it is committed to keep experimenting to see which solutions work, and that most likely, progress will be made by using a range of different solutions and innovations. [Image Credit: © Unilever]
"We’re innovating for a reuse-refill revolution", Unilever, July 30, 2019, © Unilever
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Sainsbury’s To Remove Hard-To-Recycle Black Plastic Trays From The Chiller Cabinets

July 25, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s said it will be first among retailers to eliminate the black plastic trays often used for chilled ready meals, in favour of a recyclable tray made from natural CPET. Sainsbury’s says the move, to be completed by November 2019, will reduce the volume of hard-to-recycle plastic by over 1,000 metric tonnes a year. Earlier in the same week, the company announced a trial to take away the single use plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetable, and replace them with reusable drawstring bags.[Image Credit: © J Sainsbury plc]
"Sainsbury's becomes first retailer to remove all black plastic from chilled ready meals", Sainsbury’s, July 25, 2019, © J Sainsbury plc
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Seeing Plastic As An Asset, Managed By Blockchain, Could Help Solve The Plastic Problem

July 24, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
In a blog post from INSEAD, the authors argue that it’s still early days in the use of blockchain in the war against plastic waste and the environmental and financial costs that entails. Raising public awareness has been a start, but the solution will require a shift in consumer behavior as well as significant resources and collaboration to speed joined up innovation from a range of stakeholders. It will also require a change in perception, seeing plastic packaging as an asset rather than trash, and a market framework to manage the assets. This, the authors argue, could be based on “crypto-credits or blockchain tokens”. The technology is being developed. Plastic Bank, a Canadian company, has established schemes in a number of developing and emerging countries that enable people to drop plastic waste at a collection center in exchange for credits on a blockchain-based app. Dutch start-up Circularise has developed a blockchain platform to accurately price recycled material and identify how many time it has been recycled. Enabling technologies like RFID and NTFS will be important to help trace materials through their journeys, and blockchain can provide a way to create a “material passport” that tracks the journey and stores information about the material. The limiting factor at the moment is the current “near-zero value” of plastic packaging, which could be addressed, for example, by adopting something like the deposit-return scheme model, adding a small surcharge to the price of a product, to be redeemed when the packaging is returned[Image Credit: © pasja1000 from Pixabay]
Michael Peshkam, INSEAD Executive in Residence, and David Dubois, INSEAD Associate Professor of Marketing , "How Blockchain Can Win the War Against Plastic Waste", INSEAD Knowledge, July 24, 2019, © INSEAD Knowledge
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UK Supermarket Chain Asda Stops Plastic Bags For Online Orders

July 22, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The Asda supermarket chain in the UK will no longer use single-use plastic bags for online orders, eliminating some 85 million each year. The scheme has been trialed in the South-West of England and at its Dartford Home Shopping Centre, and will now be rolled out nationally from the end of July. The delivery drivers will instead offer to unload the shopping for home delivery customers and put it in a convenient place. Fresh meat and fish will still require small plastic bags. The chain stopped offering single-use bags in-store last year.[Image Credit: © ASDA]
"Asda to stop offering plastic carrier bags with online grocery shopping, in latest plastic-saving initiative", ASDA, July 22, 2019, © ASDA
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UK Government Teams Up With Businesses To Seek Alternative Plastic Options

July 22, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

As part of the UK's Clean Growth Challenge, a joint initiative between the UK government and private business aims to invest some GBP200 million in research into alternative packaging options to help cut single-use plastic packaging. The government’s contribution is GBP60 million. The expectation is that plant-based options will replace oil-based plastics. Companies signed up to the effort include Unilever and Sainsbury’s. [Image Credit: © vedat zorluer from Pixabay]
Simon Harvey, "UK sets out investment project to cut single-use plastics in packaging", just-foods.com, July 22, 2019, © just-foods.com
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Ireland Aims To Be The First EU Member To Ban Microbeads In Cleaners

July 21, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
New legislation introduced in Ireland’s lower house, the Dáil, means the country will, if the bill is passed, be the first in the EU to ban the use of plastic microbeads in household and industrial cleaners. The Microbeads Prohibition Bill would make it an offence to produce or sell such products, mostly used in soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs. They can also be found in some toothpaste and abrasive cleaners. It will include products that are rinsed or washed off down a drain but excludes “leave-on” or “wear-off” products. The bill will pass to committee stage to discuss amendments.[Image Credit: © ID 955169 from Pixabay.com]
Marie O'Halloran, "Ireland to be first EU country to ban plastic microbeads in cleaners, Dáil told", THE IRISH TIMES, July 21, 2019, © THE IRISH TIMES
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Reuse Models Through The New Plastics Economy Lens

July 13, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative published research it has conducted on how to convert some 20% of global plastic packaging into reuse models, and how this could represent a US$10 billion opportunity for business. The study looked at over 100 initiatives and interviewed more than 50 experts. The report identified six key benefits in reuse models: lower packaging and transportation from using refills in a compact form (e.g. concentrates and solids); more consumer control over the product; brand loyalty and customer retention through deposit and reward schemes; improved user experience; optimized operations, such as economies for scale in standardizing reusable packaging; and opportunities to gather information on consumer preferences by incorporating digital technologies (RFID tags, GPS, and sensors) in reusable packaging. The study also looked at four main reuse models (refill at home; refill on the go; return from home; and return on the go), and presented 69 examples, across a range of categories.[Image Credit: © ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION]
"New Plastics Economy: Reuse book launched", Ellen MacArthur Foundation , July 13, 2019, © Ellen MacArthur Foundation
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Merlin And Coca-Cola Team Up To Offer Discounts On Attractions For Visitors Recycling Bottles

July 11, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Merlin Entertainments is offering a 50% discount at attractions in exchange for empty plastic bottles at dedicated reversed vending machines, in a campaign run in conjunction with Coca-Cola in the UK, extending a similar campaign run last year. The attractions include Alton Towers Resort, the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures, with new attractions added like SEA LIFE in Blackpool and London, and Warwick Castle Resort. Visitors to Thorpe Park will also be able to use Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine, where people can pre-load money to a chip in a refillable cup. [Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]
"Coca-Cola partners with Merlin Theme Parks to offer 50 percent off in exchange for empty plastic bottles", The Coca-Cola Company, July 11, 2019, © The Coca-Cola Company
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New Bill Sets Out French Government Vision For A Circular Economy, But Not Everyone Is Convinced

July 11, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
A new bill is to be introduced to the French parliament in September that sets out the country’s vision for a circular economy and an environmentally-sustainable society, by adopting a "repair, re-use, recycle" approach. As well as trying to eliminate built-in obsolescence in electrical and electronic goods, it would also bring in more Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes. A key proposal is the “consigne” scheme: a deposit of 10-15 centimes added when buying single-use drinks containers. It appears to cover only plastic and aluminium. When the scheme ran in the 1970s, it also applied to glass bottles. The bill also addresses the need to improve plastic recycling rates, in a country in which only 26.5% of household plastic is recycled. The government wants this to be 100% by 2025, even though experts believe it’s an unrealistic target, but there is no target for reducing plastic use. Critics say the proposals, and especially the consigne arrangements, will be expensive for consumers, local councils and small shopkeepers, and it will benefit drinks companies, who will have free access to PET for recycling. One estimate suggests that local councils will lose 250-300 million euros a year from handling recycling. [Image Credit: © evelynlo from Pixabay]
Alison Hird, "France drafts new chapter in the ‘war on waste’ ", RFI, July 11, 2019, © RFI
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A New First In Recyclable Toothpaste Tubes From Colgate

July 11, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Colgate-Palmolive announced a recyclable toothpaste tube that has been recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers. The company says it’s the first of its kind and represents over five years of work, and will be introduced through the Tom’s of Maine brand in the US next year, with a broader rollout to follow. The company has a 2025 target for 100% recyclable tubes as part of its 100% recyclable packaging commitment. Toothpaste tubes are typically made from a laminate of plastic sheets, often incorporating an aluminum layer. Colgate’s recyclable tube uses widely-recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The plastic is rigid and not generally suited to ultra-thin laminate sheets, but the company’s packaging engineers found they could use different HDPE grade combinations to meet requirements. Although Colgate has got approval for the tube from the APR, it will also need to secure similar approval for other parts of the world. [Image Credit: © Colgate-Palmolive Company]
"Colgate’s Recyclable Tube First to be Recognized by Association of Plastic Recyclers", Colgate-Palmolive , July 11, 2019, © Colgate-Palmolive Company
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Nestlé Waters Brand Valvert Introduces 100 Percent rPET Water Bottle In Europe

July 10, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters mineral water brand Valvert has introduced a new bottle in Belgium made entirely from recycled PET (rPET), a first for Nestlé in Europe. The innovation is a step toward meeting Nestlé's commitment to increase the rPET content in its water bottles to 35 percent globally by 2025. Only used bottles go into the making of the new bottle: no new virgin PET needs to be created. Valvert says it has secured a reliable supply of the high-quality, food grade rPET required for bottled water, allowing not only the launch of the 100 percent rPET bottle of 150 cl, but also a 50 percent rPET bottle of 50 cl. The goal is to have the 50 cl bottle also made entirely of rPET by the end of 2019.
"Valvert launches water bottle made of 100 percent recycled plastic, a first for Nestlé in Europe", Nestlé Waters, July 10, 2019, © Nestlé
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100% Valvert rPET Bottle In Belgium Extends Nestlé’s Use of Recycled Plastic

July 10, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters’ natural mineral water brand, Valvert in Belgium, has introduced a new bottle from 100% recycled PET, It’s the company’s first 100% rPET bottle in Europe. The brand launched a 100% 150cl rPET bottle and a 50% 50cl rPET bottle, with the aim of making the smaller bottle entirely from rPET by the end of the year. In 2018, Nestlé Pure Life launched 100% rPET bottles in North America, and the US spring water brand Poland Spring says it will convert its packaging to recycled plastic by 2021.[Image Credit: © Nestlé]
"Valvert launches water bottle made of 100% recycled plastic, a first for Nestlé in Europe", Nestlé, July 10, 2019, © Nestlé
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The Cif Cleaning Brand Unveils A Refill Option To Cut Plastic Use

July 9, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever’s Cif household cleaning brand has launched Cif ecorefill. Consumers buy a trigger spray bottle and can then buy refills of 10x concentrate. The refill uses a quarter of the plastic needed for original product and attaches to Cif Power & Shine bottles. Using concentrate cuts the amount of water being transported by an estimated 97% and the number of trucks by 87%. The refill is fully recyclable if consumers remove the plastics sleeves, and the company is aiming for the refills and bottles to be made from 100% recycled plastic by the end of next year. [Image Credit: © Unilever]
"Cif innovation to dramatically cut plastic use and transport emissions", Unilever , July 09, 2019, © Unilever
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Estonian Startup Launches Water-Soluble Plant-Based ‘Honey Balls’

July 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Estonian startup Decomer has developed a plant-based biodegradable packaging material. The company is now incorporated in the US. Decomer’s first product is water-soluble packages for honey, called “honey drops”. They are capsules to be stirred into hot drinks. It will be available at retail and via a dispenser for food service. The company aims to develop a B2B business, selling packaging solutions to manufacturers and is developing packages that can be blended in smoothies, flavour packets that can be dissolved in water, and detergent packs that can be added to laundry. [Image Credit: © Decomer Technology Oü]
Catherine Lamb, "Decomer Makes Plant-based Water-soluble Packaging to Fight Plastic Waste", The Spoon, July 08, 2019, © The Spoon
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New Report Highlights The Cost Of Packaging To Scottish Households

July 5, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
A new report from Zero Waste Scotland, an organization funded by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund, says that Scotland’s consumers buy groceries that use over 300,000 tonnes of single-use packaging annually. This represents a cost to the environment, but also to households – an estimated £600 million each year, much of which is hidden in product prices. This implies each household plays £250 (7% of the average grocery bill) a year for 130kg of single-use packaging. They also have to pay some £40 million each year to local authorities for waste management. The study estimates that grocery packaging contributes 13% of all household waste in the country, of which 89,000 tonnes (29% of grocery packaging) is plastic. The report concludes that this situation can be improved by price signalling, making shoppers aware of the price they pay for packaging. [Image Credit: © ZeroWasteScot 6@ZeroWasteScot zerowastescotland.org.uk]
"REPORT: The Hidden Cost of Grocery Packaging", Zero Waste Scotland , July 05, 2019, © ZeroWasteScot 6@ZeroWasteScot zerowastescotland.org.uk
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Rethinking Packaging To Reduce Plastic Use

June 30, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The author highlights efforts by 16 companies in the US that are attempting to address the need to reduce packaging. Those that will have an impact on plastic use include: A laminated plant-based compostable pouch for Alter Eco’s quinoa products; compostable wrappers for BOSS Food’s vegan bars; aluminum-lined recyclable boxes for water from Boxed Water is Better; GF Harvest’s GoPack recyclable and collapsible oatmeal bowls, which are flat when bought and can popped up to add hot water; compostable trays for the ready-to-cook seafood meals from Love the Wild, with a microwaveable version due later this year; Econic compostable films, using FSC-certified wood pulp and non-GMO corn, used for wrapping Loving Earth chocolate bars and superfood bars; and six-pack rings on Saltwater Brewery’s beers - 100% biodegradable and edible by animals, using Eco Six Pack Rings technology. [Image Credit: © pasja1000 from Pixabay]
"16 Companies Rethinking Packaging", Foodtank, June 30, 2019, © Food Tank
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PepsiCo Announces Changes To Eliminate 8,000 Tonnes Of Virgin Plastic

June 27, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
From 2020, the LIFEWTR brand will use 100% recycled PET packaging. PepsiCo also announced that bubly sparkling water will stop using plastic packaging, and the AQUAFINA® water brand will offer aluminum cans for food service customers in the US. The company expects to eliminate over 8,000 tonnes of virgin plastic through these changes. [Image Credit: © PepsiCo, Inc.]
"PepsiCo Advances Circular Economy for Plastics", PepsiCo, June 27, 2019, © PepsiCo, Inc.
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L’Oréal Takes A Stake In Carbios

June 26, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

Carbios, a French company focusing on enzymatic bioprocesses to improve the lifecycle of plastics, has received investment from L’Oréal, through its recently-launched BOLD Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development corporate venture capital fund. Carbios is developing technology to recycle a broader range of PET plastics and polyester fibers to create virgin-quality PET. Other companies in the Consortium include Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. [Image Credit: © CARBIOS]
"L’Oréal invests in biotech through a minority stake in Carbios", L’Oréal , June 26, 2019, © L’Oréal
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Big Beverage Companies To Urge Vietnam To Create Plastic Recycling Program

June 25, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Amid growing global outrage over plastic waste in the planet’s oceans, beverage major Suntory Holdings announced collaboration with rivals Coca-Cola and Nestlé to encourage the Vietnam government to create a large-scale plastic recycling system. Japan has said it will discuss the problem at the G20 summit it is hosting this month. Suntory told Reuters it plans to switch out pure petroleum-based plastic bottles in all markets by 2030, using only recycled or plant-based materials at a cost of $467 million. Recycling plastic is a vexing problem in Southeast Asia, which lacks lacks sophisticated systems for collecting, sorting, and treating used plastic. Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said he wants his country to phase out single-use plastics by 2025 using unspecified “drastic measures.”
"Japan’s Suntory joins rival Coca-Cola to push Vietnam on plastic recycling", CNBC, June 25, 2019, © CNBC LLC
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Personal Care Startup By Humankind Offers Refillable Options For Your Bathroom

June 25, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

New York-based By Humankind, a personal care direct-to-consumer subscription startup, is looking to reduce its use of plastic by introducing refillable products, including a shampoo, deodorant and mouthwash. The refillable containers come with a lifetime guarantee, but can also be recycled. The company calls the refills “"kindfills", which are in pods made from biodegradable paper and shipped in envelopes made from recycled material. The shampoo (solid bar) and mouthwash (tablets) are heavily concentrated to reduce packaging. The deodorant is available unscented or with eucalyptus.[Image Credit: © By Humankind, Inc]
"By Humankind wants to banish single-use plastic from your bathroom", Dezeen, June 25, 2019, © Dezeen Limited
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Brown Paper Bags Will Replace Plastic Bags At Boots In The UK

June 24, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
UK health and beauty retailer Boots will from next year phase out plastic bags, replacing them with unbleached brown paper ones, starting immediately with 53 stores across the country. It will also move to unbleached paper bags for prescriptions. It will charge for the new bags, even though they are not covered by the plastic bag tax. Instead, profits from the bags will go to the BBC Children in Need charity. Boots cites its own research to demonstrate the extent to which consumers support moves to address the problem of plastic waste. The bags are from Forest Stewardship Council certified recycled brown paper, easily recycled at home, and display the On-Pack Recycling Label. [Image Credit: © The Boots Company PLC]
"Boots UK to replace plastic carrier bags with unbleached paper bags in all stores", Boots UK, June 24, 2019, © The Boots Company PLC
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The Mr Muscle® Line In The UK Extends SC Johnson’s Expansion Of Refillable Options

June 24, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

In August this year, UK consumers will see the first concentrated refill for SC Johnson’s Mr Muscle® cleaning products. The refills will be available on Amazon, and will allow consumers to add tap water to the concentrate in the reusable trigger bottle. The bottle should be refillable “dozens of times”. The Windex® concentrated refills were the company’s first foray into refillable products, in 2011, since when it has added brands including Pledge®, Shout® and Scrubbing Bubbles®. SC Johnson has also recently announced it will expand its concentrate options globally, including in Mexico, in July, and China and Japan, in September.[Image Credit: © S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.]
"SC Johnson to Launch Its First-Ever Concentrated Refill in the U.K., Reinforcing Commitment to Plastic Waste Reduction", SC Johnson, June 24, 2019, © S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
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P&G Is Looking To Lead Sustainability In The Consumer Goods Arena

June 21, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble is aiming to raise its profile as a standard bearer for corporate sustainability, led by its CEO, David Taylor. Last year, he and P&G co-founded the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a coalition aiming to invest $1.5 billion in appropriate schemes. He has also elevated the role of vice president of sustainability to chief sustainability officer and led the launch of a program called Ambition 2030, which aims to link creating value for shareholders and consumers with a positive impact on the environment and society, to develop P&G as a force for good and growth together. Ambition 2030 will help drive the transition of packaging for its major brands to be 100% recyclable or reusable, introduce more sustainable innovations, and develop other environment-focused initiatives.[Image Credit: © Procter & Gamble]
Dale Buss, "P&G CEO Taylor Embraces Sustainability Thinking in C-Suite and Beyond", Chief Executive, June 21, 2019, © ChiefExecutive.net
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Which? Study Finds UK Supermarkets Could Do Better To Help Improve Recycling Rates

June 22, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
A study from Which?, the UK consumer campaigning group, found that almost half of packaging in items sold (primarily online) by the UK’s 11 supermarket chains can’t be easily recycled. Morrisons fared worst, and Tesco and Waitrose had the most items that could be recycled easily, but improvement was needed from all. It also found that recycling labels could be better, and 42% of packaging was either labeled incorrectly or not at all. Which? says that it’s not only about the use of plastic, but the type of plastic used: black plastic containers are not recyclable, and clear plastic bottles are more easily recycled than Tetra Paks. Many pizzas are still sold with non-recyclable polystyrene bases, and grease contamination of the cardboard packaging means that can’t be recycled either. Which? has made five key recommendations: make labeling clear and accurate; avoid unnecessary single-use plastic packaging; eliminate the use of black plastic PET trays; provide in-store plastic bag collection points; and offer products loose, where possible.[Image Credit: © Which?]
Vicki Crowe , "Almost half of supermarket packaging isn’t easily recyclable, Which? Finds", Which?, June 22, 2019, © Which?
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McDonald’s UK & Ireland Makes Further Plastic Use Reductions

June 21, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The McFlurry’s ice cream range at McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland will be sold without the single-use plastic lids from September this year. McDonald’s will also use 100% renewable and recyclable cardboard packaging for all main meals and side salads, replacing the plastic containers. The cardboard will contain 50% recycled content. The company says that the changes will reduce plastic waste by nearly 500 million tonnes a year. Its global commitment is to use only renewable or recycled packaging by 2025 and it has started replacing plastic straws with paper straws. [Image Credit: © McDonald's]
"McFlurry gets a makeover in McDonald’s UK latest sustainability drive", McDonald’s UK , June 21, 2019, © McDonald's
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Swedish Startup Introduces The Veggio Reusable Bag For Fruit And Veg

June 21, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Carrinet, a Swedish startup, has developed a machine-washable, reusable drawstring bag, called Veggio, made from 100% recycled PET bottles, for fruit and vegetables. Each bag can hold up to 10kg and the netting design allows the produce to be rinsed while still in the bag. 2Tech is distributing the bags in the UK. It says the bags give consumers an alternative to using the free plastic bags provided in supermarkets, and it aims to persuade supermarkets to stock the Veggio bags.[Image Credit: © Allmänna villkor]
Flora Southey, "Start-up tackles packaging waste with bags made from 100% recycled bottles", Food Navigator , June 21, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Three Of Coca-Cola Europe’s Brands To Be Packaged In rPET Bottles By 2020

June 18, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Western Europe announced that three of its brands will be sold in 100 percent plastic (rPET) bottles in several markets on the continent beginning in 2020. According to the company, the adoption of the new bottles for the Honest, GLACÉAU Smartwater, and Chaudfontaine brands will save about 9,000 tons of virgin plastic a year across Western Europe. The company also said it will change the packaging for its Sprite brand from a green PET bottle to a clear PET pack, which it claims is easier to recycle. The changes are part of Coca-Cola’s pledge to ensure that at least half of the plastic used in its PET bottles across Western Europe will come from recycled sources by 2025.
Martin White, "Three Coca-Cola brands to adopt 100 percent rPET bottles in Europe", FoodBev Media , June 18, 2019, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Coca-Cola Great Britain Announces New Sustainable Packaging Initiatives

June 18, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
100% recycled PET will be used in GLACÉAU smartwater bottles sold by Coca-Cola Great Britain, removing over 3,000 tonnes of virgin plastic each year, and the unit also expects to double to at least 50% the recycled content of all of its plastic bottles, across the 20 brands, by early next year. These moves should reduce the volume of virgin plastic it uses by over 23,000 tonnes each year. Coca-Cola is also replacing the green Sprite bottle with clear packaging to ease recycling into new bottles. General Manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain, Jon Woods, said that more needs to be done to address the problem, but more packaging needs to be collected and recycled to support the move towards higher rPET content. He said the company is supporting calls for “a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers.” [Image Credit: © THE COCA-COLA COMPANY]
"Coca-Cola Great Britain continues sustainable packaging drive with move to 100% recycled plastic in all GLACÉAU smartwater bottles", Coca-Cola , June 18, 2019, © The Coca-Cola Company
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John Lewis & Partners Trails Recycling Initiative With Its Customers

June 17, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
John Lewis & Partners, one of the UK’s leading department store chains, is testing a beauty packaging recycling scheme that gives its loyalty program members £5 discount on any beauty purchase if they return make-up and skincare packaging for recycling. It’s being conducted in partnership with waste management company, TerraCycle. The program is being called BeautyCycle, and TerraCycle will separate the empty containers into metals, plastics and fibers, to be recycled, composted or turned into plastic pellets for re-use in items like plastic benches or lumber. All packaging is being accepted except aerosol cans, and fragrance and nail varnish bottles. The retailer says it wants to make being sustainable as easy as they can for consumers. The scheme will be trialed from mid-June for a month in the 36 John Lewis stores with a full-line beauty service.[Image Credit: © John Lewis plc]
"John Lewis & Partners Launches ‘Beautycycle’ Recycling Trial", John Lewis & Partners , June 17, 2019, © John Lewis plc
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Consumer Acceptance Is Key In Raising PCR Levels In Plastic Packaging

June 13, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

Melissa Craig, senior manager of packaging sustainability at Unilever North America, says that the company is working towards 100% packaging recyclability, with the main challenge being “flexibles”. Its Hellmann's mayonnaise containers in US will move to 100% rPET by the end of 2019. However, Craig admitted there must be some degree of compromise, such as slightly tinted plastic, or black specks, and consumer acceptance might be an issue. The company has pledged a global target of 25% post-consumer resin in total packaging by 2025, but the North America business is aiming for 50% by the end of this year. [Image Credit: © Unilever UK]
Jim Johnson, "Sustainability requires at least some compromise, Unilever says", Plastics News, June 13, 2019, © Crain Communications, Inc.
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