Clean hair, clear conscience!

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Living sustainably is what the world is aspiring to and is a responsibility that all people are facing when making decisions to go about their daily lives. Companies too are embracing sustainability, giving special consideration to the contents in the products that they are manufacturing and selling, as well as the way in which those products are packaged and transported to outlets for the consumer.

Multinational FMCG company Unilever is one such business that began exploring the shift to using recycled material for their packaging as early as 2016. The unmistakeable Organics green shampoo and conditioner one-litre bottles, and TRESemmé 900ml black shampoo bottle, all manufactured by RPC Astrapak Plastop, are eco-friendly and made from a percentage of recycled HDPE (rHDPE).

While the recognisable bottle design remains unchanged, the move to include a combination of rHDPE with virgin HDPE was initiated by the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP).

By focusing on areas where they can make the biggest change – spanning their social, environmental and economic performance across the value chain – the USLP sets out to separate the environmental footprint associated with the company’s growth. One of their three major goals is to reduce environmental impact by half, and the process of manufacturing with rHDPE goes a long way in supporting this goal by reducing waste from manufacturing with zero non-hazardous waste to landfill; and to increase recycled content and recycling and recovery rates.

The Organics range pioneered the recycled content space within Unilever’s Personal Care market. When the 2015 trials on the Organics bottles were taking place, the inclusion of rHDPE was 25%, to all Organics bottles largely due to the fact that there was insufficient recycled material available to increase the ratio.

In February 2017, the entire Organics’ shampoo and conditioner range increased to 50% rHDPE, witnessing a massive savings of 90 tonnes of virgin material per annum, supporting Unilever’s environmentally sustainable manufacturing drive.

Unilever is exploring the possibility of manufacturing the Organics range from 100% rHDPE, while extending the ratio in the TRESemmé shampoo bottle up to 35% rHDPE. Internal trials will soon be underway.

Decorative options include the distinctive Organics and TRESemmé self-adhesive labelling.

Along with the usage of recycled HDPE comes the move towards a more sustainable product, which reduces Unilever’s carbon footprint. This beneficial initiative allows consumers to continue to enjoy the same well-loved shampoos and conditioners with, experiencing clean hair with a clear conscience.

Mylene Paynter