Unilever launches biodegradable detergent capsule in plastic-free box by Graphic Packaging
01 Aug 2022 --- Unilever’s biggest laundry brand, Dirt Is Good (comprising Persil, Skip and OMO), is unveiling a new biodegradable detergent capsule lauded as its “most sustainable laundry capsule” to date. The capsules come in a plastic-free cardboard box developed by Graphic Packaging International.
The cardboard container is set to prevent over 6,000 metric tons of plastic from entering the waste stream every year, the equivalent in weight to 500 double-decker buses.
“Through our Clean Future program, our ambition is to make [environmentally] sustainable cleaning the compelling choice for every consumer by bringing real innovation to established mass-market products,” remarks Dr. Keith Rutherford, head of global innovation at Unilever Home Care R&D.
“The new proprietary formulation and child-proof cardboard packaging is the work of so many people. The research, development, and manufacturing skill that is required shouldn’t be underestimated.”
Fast-dissolving plant-based capsules
The specially designed formula for the capsules contains biodegradable active ingredients that are 65% derived from plant sources. It is high performing in cold and short cycles.
The re-engineered capsule membrane is fully biodegradable and reportedly the fastest dissolving on the market, leaving no residue on laundry.
“The new capsule sees its carbon footprint reduced by 16% (versus current capsules), and when used in cold, short cycles, consumers can save up to 60% energy per use,” says Unilever.
The new product, which will launch first in France before rolling out to other markets, comes in line with the company’s Clean Future strategy.
Announced in September 2020, the strategy aims to improve the way cleaning and laundry products are created, manufactured and packaged sustainably, supported by a €1 billion (US$1.04 billion) investment over ten years.
Deviating from conventional plastic
For the first time, the laundry capsules will be packaged in a plastic-free cardboard box. The box, conceived in partnership with Graphic Packaging International, underwent years of development to lock out moisture “better than current plastic packaging” and prevent capsules from sticking to each other.
The box is easier to open and close, child-proof and fully recyclable. Meanwhile, 50% of the cardboard comes from recycled sources and the rest from FSC-certified forests.
“Working together with Unilever, we are delighted to see our innovative packaging solution launch under this iconic brand around the world,” says Ralf Mack, director of new business development for EU Consumer Products at Graphic Packaging International.
“Our combined expertise in carton design, product protection capabilities and understanding of consumer behavior has enabled us to create this superior, plastic-free and child-proof solution, enabling consumers and businesses alike to reduce their use of single-use plastic.”
Green beauty advances
In other news, Unilever recently initiated a competition for potential partnership deals for start-ups, scale-ups and academics targeting beauty and personal care products and packaging for planetary well-being via its “Positive Beauty Growth Platform.”
Greening up beauty platforms is a movement accelerating across global brands. Earlier this week, L’Oréal’s North Asia business became the first in the entire company to achieve carbon neutrality for all operated sites, plants, distribution centers, offices as well as research and innovation centers spanning the five geographic markets of mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In recent launches, MOB Beauty unveiled a fully compostable makeup packaging collection called NewPurpose. The makeup brand aims to reduce plastic waste by switching to compostable solutions by 2024.
Refillable packaging is also in vogue, with Fasten introducing a Recharge Luxury Refill system: a line of environmentally sustainable, refillable cosmetic packaging for makeup and skincare products aimed at supporting the circular economy.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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