Maker of Ben & Jerry’s to Reduce Plastic Usage by 50%

Break out the pints of ice cream and cheers to Unilever for its announcement to cut back their use of plastic products in half by 2025.

Unilever may not be a familiar name, but its brands certainly are. Who hasn’t indulged in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey? They are also the maker of brands like Dove, Clear, and Axe. And many of these brands are packaged in plastic, which is an environmental problem Unilever is addressing head-on.

“There is a lot of plastic pollution in the environment. And the fact of the matter is — too much of it carries our name,” Unilever said in a statement.

A Few Facts About Plastic

Most Americans recycle the plastic used in their homes, but what most people don’t know is that plastic is not a material that can be recycled over and over. Sadly, it can usually only be recycled once or twice. And the new trend to recycle plastic into fabric is a great way to get one more use out of plastic, but once that garment is thrown away, it sits in a landfill forever.

5 facts about the plastic:

  1. 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic
  2. Plastic is killing 1.1 million seabirds and animals each year
  3. The average person eats 70,000 microplastics each year
  4. A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every second
  5. Worldwide, about 2 million plastic bags are used every minute.

From Givingcompass.org

Picture of an exuberant amount of plastic waste
Picture from Givingcompass.org

What Does the Unilever Announcement Mean?

We can all do our part to reduce plastic consumption like using reusable water bottles or grocery bags. And, we can buy glass food storage containers and reusable storage bags. But, the biggest change can and should happen with the manufactures. That’s why Unilever’s announcement earlier this week is so important.

In 2018, Unilever used over 700,000 tons of plastic. Their goal to reduce this number by 50% means, they will use $380,000 tons by 2025. That still sounds like an astonishing amount of plastic, but that’s also saving almost 400,000 tons of plastic from eventually ending up in a landfill each year. It’s a step in the right direction and hopefully an endeavor that will encourage other manufacturers to take similar action.

How Will Unilever Accomplish This?

Unilever will take a multi-faceted approach to this initiative. First, the company plans to provide more refillable packaging and sell more their products “naked”, or unwrapped. These measures along with using more recycled plastics are only the beginning.

We could soon see products, like deodorant, in stainless steel packaging. That means that instead of chucking that plastic deodorant dispenser in the trash or at best the recycling bin, the stainless steel alternative can be reused and recycled an estimated 100 times.

Unilever CEO, Alan Jope, “We can only eliminate plastic waste by acting fast and taking radical action at all points in the cycle”

A Company Committed to Good Ethics

Unilever operates under high standards to deliver safe and products to people, and now, the environment. This means they also work closely with their partners to ensure they are meeting the same standards. The company also has a dedicated Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) staffed by around 200 people, including scientists recognized as leaders in their field. 

And lastly, Unilever does not test on animals. Furthermore, they are dedicated to ending animal testing altogether. Learn more about animal testing here.

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