Multinational hopes plastic-fighting idea will help stem the use of single-use laundry liquid sachets
Unilever, the multinational behind cleaning brands such as Persil, CIF and Domestos, has announced plans to invest €100,000 in a new concept for a plastic-free laundry tablet.
Every year billions of single-use laundry liquid sachets are sold around the world to low-income families who can only afford to pay for one wash at a time. But the packaging is tricky to recycle and often ends up as litter.
Earlier this week designers – including Unilever employees – gathered at the firm’s ‘Rethink Plastic’ Hackathon and developed the idea for a laundry tablet to replace the plastic sachets.
The plastic-free solution, which won the hackathon, uses a cheap, plant-derived coating instead of plastic to protect the tablet’s cleaning agent against humidity.
Unilever was so impressed with the concept that it yesterday announced plans to invest €100,000 in the tablet’s development and support market trials.
With the production of plastics set to double globally over the next decade, President of Unilever Home Care Kees Kruythoff said businesses must act urgently to address plastic waste pollution.
“As a major player in the consumer goods industry, we are aware that our response is critical in setting the pace of change,” he said. “This hackathon is part of our broader work with leading experts and innovators to redesign our packaging and work with the wider industry to accelerate the systemic change that is so urgently needed.”
Unilever has promised to make all its plastic packaging fully compostable, reusable or recyclable by 2025. But finding a solution for hard-to-recycle items like plastic sachets remains a challenge.
Alongside developing new plastic-free alternatives to sachets, Unilever has also heavily invested the development of a new technology called CreaSolv it claims can recycle used sachets cost-effectively. A pilot project has been running in Indonesia since early this year, but plans for a full scale plant in the Philippines have not yet been finalised with Unilever keen to attract other corporate investors in the project