Anglo-Dutch consumer products maker Unilever has teamed up with US-based environmental research company Earth911 to try and establish if it is economically viable to recycle deodorant packaging.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading deodorant manufacturers, holding brand names such as Axe, Degree, Suave and Dove, underlining the significant impact that such a project could have to the company’s increasingly sustainability considerations.
The aim of the project, which will also be tied in with supporting partners Nextlife and Funding Factory, will focus on assessing whether or not the millions of deodorant sticks that are thrown out each year, and invariably ending up in landfills, can be recycled as a raw material
Schools get involved in the project
The companies say that the project will entail the help of students from 50 high schools and colleges, who will help collect deodorant sticks for use in the recycling test project.
As an incentive to get involved in the project, the companies are offering fundraising opportunities for the schools that participate in collecting the used deodorant sticks.
Unilever has been focused on reducing its carbon footprint through its Sustainable Living Plan, which was established in 2010 and aims to improve the company’s environmental record in a total of 50 specific areas.
Project will determine viability of multi-resin recycling
“If the program is successful, we will be able to provide the recycling industry with information that shows multi-resin deo-sticks can be profitably recycled. National recycling of deodorant sticks will reduce the environmental footprint of our brands as well as our competitors,” said Michael Hughes, Unilever’s senior manager, packaging research and development for North America.
Introduced by the environmentally conscious CEO Paul Polman, the Sustainable Living Plan will see Unilever, whose global brands include Dove, Lynx and Vaseline, halve the greenhouse gas emissions, water and waste used not just by the company in its direct operations, but also by its suppliers and consumers.
The main aims of the plan are to implement a sustainable sourcing strategy, reduce environmental impact, and ensure the health and hygiene of people around the world.
Polman has also played a significant part in moving his company and others towards the sourcing of sustainable palm oil through his active participation in the, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The organization has been working towards the sustainable sourcing of palm oil, an industry that is said to be accountable for huge areas of deforestation, particularly in parts of Southeast Asia, where the oil is farmed for use in a variety of consumer products, including personal care and food.