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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Opportunity Renewed:
Solving Circular Challenges with the Right Partnership

A key component of Procter & Gamble’s Climate Transition Action Plan is reducing the amount of virgin fossil-based plastic in packaging by 50% by 2030. How can P&G brands do their part, without compromising on the unique beauty, branding and functionality of their packaging?

For nearly two centuries, Procter & Gamble has provided the household-name products found in millions of bathrooms and laundry rooms across the US. Brands including Tide®, Bounty®, Cascade®, Swiffer® and Crest® help keep us and our homes clean and heathy.

Maintaining a clean and healthy environment for future generations has also been embedded into how P&G does business for decades. A key component of P&G’s Net-Zero 2040 Climate Transition Action Plan is reducing the amount of virgin fossil-based plastic in packaging by 50 percent by 2030.

An admirable target — but as always, the devil is in the details. How can individual P&G beauty brands do their part, without compromising in some way on the unique beauty, branding and functionality of their packaging?

Sustainability matchmaking takes value(s) into account

P&G’s Herbal Essences® haircare brand cares about the sustainability of both the botanical ingredients within the product, as well as the bottle itself. In alignment with P&G’s goals, Herbal Essences is working to reduce dependence on virgin plastic, encourage recycling and invest in recycled materials across its product lines. So, when the brand began planning the launch of a new line of sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners featuring real botanicals, it also wanted to use new bottles that would reflect brand values and meaningfully support P&G’s goal.

Herbal Essences knew it wouldn’t achieve alignment working alone and extensively researched potential manufacturing partners that could provide recycled plastic for the bottles. For the company, it was important that its bottles keep their immediately recognizable branding while increasing both the recycled content and recyclability. Enter Eastman Renew materials — a match made in sustainability heaven.

Eastman Renew is a molecular recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with 50 percent certified recycled content.* These materials are created by revolutionary molecular recycling technologies that transform single-use waste into basic building blocks, which are then used to make high-performance materials that don’t require brands such as Herbal Essences to compromise on the form or function of their packaging.

Molecular recycling technologies complement traditional recycling processes by expanding the types and amounts of plastic that can be recycled and thus diverted from landfills and the environment. Ultimately, these technologies are enabling the move from the linear economy (take, make, consume, waste) to a circular economy (make, use, reuse, remake, recycle). These technologies are focused on minimizing waste while maximizing value — and helping brands live out their values.

“Together, we can create value from waste and show the world what’s possible through innovation,” says Scott Ballard, Eastman division president of plastics and circularity. “The value created will help drive the critical changes in our recycling infrastructure that are necessary to solve the plastic waste crisis.”

Solutions now lead to impact over time

Since November 2021, Herbal Essences has introduced five shampoo and conditioner collections in primary packaging made from Eastman Renew resins. The brand became P&G’s first to use Eastman Renew resins for its plastic bottles, resulting in 1 ton of plastic waste being diverted from landfills for every 2 tons of bottles produced.

Eastman Renew materials are made with recycled content — and they’re also recyclable. Herbal Essences offers a national recycling program across the US through its ongoing partnership with TerraCycle; so, in addition to incorporating 50 percent recycled plastic, its new sulfate-free bio:renew collection packaging also includes standard How2Recycle® labels to encourage consumers to participate.

“We are excited to see our partnership with Procter & Gamble reach consumers’ hands with the launch of these Herbal Essences packages,” says Chris Layton, Eastman sustainability director for plastics and circular solutions. “We are delivering solutions to the plastic waste problem right now and look forward to the continued collaboration with P&G as a leading partner.”

“It’s on all of us to make a difference and create a more sustainable future where plastics are truly recycled, reused and out of nature,” says Herbal Essences principal scientist Rachel Zipperian. “Making this package change to Eastman Renew materials reduces the brand’s dependence on virgin plastic and helps us bring the world one step closer to making plastic a circular resource.”

*Recycled content is certified through a mass balance allocation process by ISCC.

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