Unilever has signed a three-year agreement with waste management company Veolia to “help create a circular economy on plastics”.
Under the agreement, Veolia will help Unilever implement used packaging collections, add recycling capacity and develop new processes and business models in various countries - beginning with India and Indonesia.
With just 14% of plastic packaging used globally currently collected for recycling after use, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there was a need for “bold action across the value chain to develop and scale up collection and reprocessing infrastructure, which is critical in the transition towards a circular economy”, the companies said.
“There is an undeniable need to transform the current way plastic packaging end of life is managed in order to reduce significantly its environmental footprint,” added Laurent Auguste, senior executive vice-president of Veolia for development, innovation and markets. “It will take a collaboration of a new kind between all the actors of the value chain.”
The agreement follows Unilever’s 2017 commitment that all its plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. The fmcg giant has also committed to increasing the recycled plastic content in its packaging to at least 25% by 2025.
“The scale of the plastic waste issue is getting worse, not better, with the production of plastics expected to double over the next two decades,” said Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief supply chain officer.
“We all have a lot more to do to address this critical issue and we hope that by partnering with Veolia, a world leader in waste management, we can take meaningful strides towards a circular economy.”