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P&G To Make 230 Million Bottles From Recycled Materials

GinaMarie headshotWords by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Energy & Environment
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Too much packaging waste goes to landfills, where it can sit for thousands of years without breaking down. Procter & Gamble (P&G) is doing something to reduce packaging waste: Use it to produce more bottles.

P&G Fabric Care will manufacture 230 million bottles for select brands from 50 percent post-consumer recycled content. That’s the equivalent of the distance from the North Pole to the South Pole if the bottles were stretched from end-to-end. This initiative also increases P&G Fabric Care’s use of incremental recycled material by nearly 8.4 million pounds.

The first batch of recycled-content bottles are expected to be on sale in the first half of 2016, and includes popular brands like Ariel, Dash, Lenor and Downy Unstopables.

“At P&G, when it comes to sustainability, we believe that actions speak louder than words,” said Gianni Ciserani, group president of global fabric and home care, said in a statement. “The increase in post consumer recyclate in the packaging of our Fabric Care brands is a huge step in the right direction. We want to make it easier for consumers to choose sustainable brands whilst continuing to deliver superior product performance.”

Ciserani added that he would like “to continue this momentum in the future by partnering with organizations that can provide recycled materials globally.” Partnering with organizations would allow P&G to “increase the amount of recycled plastic in more brands and geographies.”

P&G’s fourth environmental action in 18 months, this latest announcement continues P&G Fabric Care’s progress to become more environmentally sustainable. Back in October, P&G announced two new packaging goals, including doubling its use of recycled resin in its plastic packaging by 2020. The other goal is ensuring that 90 percent of its packaging is either recyclable or programs are put in place to develop the ability to recycle it.

P&G’s packaging reduction initiatives are part of the company’s commitment to use more recycled material in its packaging. The goal is to manufacture 100 percent of its products and packaging from renewable and recycled materials. That's a lofty target that if achieved will set a precedent.

Another goal is to reduce packaging by 20 percent per consumer use by 2020, and P&G has achieved a total reduction of about 7 percent per consumer use since 2010. There are a few specific examples of packaging reduction: The first is a the redesigned Gillette Venus razor packaging for Venus and Olay, which is now made from 26 percent less plastic. It is also made from recycled plastic and paperboard and is recyclable. The new packaging increases cost savings and decreases carbon emissions from transportation.

The second example of packaging reduction is the Gillette blades and razors category switching its North America club packaging from plastic thermoform clamshells to a paperboard primary carton, achieving a reduction of more than 360,000 pounds of packing material annually. The new cartons are over 50 percent more efficient to ship and result in over $1 million in annual cost savings.

Image credit: P&G

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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