Procter & Gamble is the latest brand to use ocean plastics in its packaging in a bid to boost home recycling rates
Procter & Gamble announced this month that it is worked with New Jersey-based recycling experts TerraCycle to make bottles for its Fairy washing up liquid with 10% ocean plastic and 90% post-consumer recycled plastic.
In January it launched a Head & Shoulders shampoo bottle in France made with 25% beach plastic. “It’s a way to create awareness that people can do something,” says Virginie Helias, P&G’s vice-president for global sustainability.
As a result of the recycled materials used, both bottles look slightly different from conventional plastic counterparts, a decision that wasn’t taken lightly, she adds. But Helias hopes consumers will get the message that “now it’s your turn to recycle.”
Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s founder, said “it took a ‘tremendous amount of R&D to make sure the bottles are recyclable in a local authority programme.” His company has tackled hard-to-recycle items by getting funding from big brands to solve the challenge of recycled plastics being more expensive than conventional plastics, due to rock-bottom oil prices.
Other firms using ocean plastics include Adidas, which has worked with environment agency Parley for the Oceans to make a range of running shoes where the upper is constructed using knitted yarn made from plastic waste collected around the Maldives, and the soles from other recycled plastics. The shoe is the result of efforts to create a new supply chain for ocean plastic.
P&G has committed to doubling the amount of recycled plastic in its packaging by 2020, and is over 65% of the way to meeting that target. However, quality and supply of recycled plastic is an issue in developing regions of the world, so P&G wants to work with industry to help establish the necessary sorting and recycling infrastructure.
It made its announcement at an EU Ocean Conservancy conference earlier this month, where an initiative to raise $150m for waste management and recycling solutions in South East Asia was launched. Ocean Conservancy estimates that almost half the plastic that gets into the oceans originates in just five rapidly developing countries: Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and China.
This is one of a series of articles on how brands are innovating to reduce the environmental impact of plastic packaging. See also:
Brands wake up to tragedy of the oceans
Who's bending the curve on reusing plastic
Can we scale up the new green plastics?
Procter & Gamble TerraCycle plastic Ocean Conservancy Adidas recycling circular economy