Today, at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, The Procter & Gamble Company announced that Head & Shoulders (H&S), the world’s #1 shampoo brand, will produce the world’s first recyclable shampoo bottle made from up to 25 percent recycled beach plastic.
In partnership with recycling experts TerraCycle and SUEZ, the bottle will come to France this summer as a limited-edition H&S bottle available to consumers in Carrefour, one of the world’s leading retailers. This will be the world’s largest production run of recyclable bottles made with post-consumer recycled (PCR) beach plastic, and a first major step in establishing a unique supply chain that involves the support of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of NGOs collecting plastic waste found on beaches.
"We felt that the leading shampoo brand in sales should lead in sustainability innovation and know that when we do this, it encourages the entire industry to do the same,” said Lisa Jennings, VP of Head & Shoulders and Global Hair Care Sustainability Leader at P&G. “We've been fortunate to work with such great partners in TerraCycle and SUEZ to make this vision a reality."
Additionally, P&G announced that in Europe by end of 2018 more than half a billion bottles per year will include up to 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. This represents more than 90 percent of all the hair care bottles sold in Europe across P&G’s hair care portfolio of flagship brands such as Pantene and Head & Shoulders.
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“This partnership between SUEZ, TerraCycle and P&G represents an exciting step in the creation of a world first for consumers - a recyclable shampoo bottle made of beach plastics,” said Jean-Marc Boursier, Group Senior Executive VP in charge of Recycling & Recovery Europe at SUEZ. “We hope that other organisations will continue to partner with different providers in order to deliver major environmental changes in this industry and hopefully across other industries, too. With 9 dedicated plastic facilities across Europe, Suez is already producing 170,000 tons of high-quality recycled polymers.”
The project will require a supply of 2,600 tons of recycled plastic every year – the same weight as eight fully loaded Boeing 747 jumbo jets. P&G has been using PCR plastic in packaging for over 25 years, and today’s announcement is an important step in the company’s journey to meet its Corporate 2020 goal of doubling the tonnage of PCR plastic used in packaging.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 95 percent of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120 billion annually, is lost to the economy and on the current track, there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050.
“At P&G, we believe that actions speak louder than words. The increased use of PCR plastic across our hair care portfolio of brands demonstrates our continued commitment to driving real change,” said Virginie Helias, VP of Global Sustainability at P&G. “The Head & Shoulders recyclable shampoo bottle made with beach plastic is a world’s first in the hair care category. Increasing the use of recycled plastic in the packaging of our flagship brands makes it easier for consumers to choose more sustainable products, without any trade-offs. So while we’re proud of what we’ve done and what we’re doing, we know there is much more work ahead.”
“This partnership represents an important step for TerraCycle,” said CEO Tom Szaky. “We are proud to be working with one of the world’s largest brands to create a breakthrough product. Creating the world’s first recyclable shampoo bottle with beach plastics is a start of an important journey. With the circular economy gaining more traction, we hope that other global brands will work with green suppliers and use their influence to drive change for the benefit of the environment.”
P&G’s announcement in Davos piggybacks on the launch earlier this week of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s latest New Plastics Economy report, Catalysing Action - which reveals that concerted action by industry could result in reuse and recycling of 70 percent of all global plastic packaging, up from today’s recycling rate of just 14 percent – as well as Unilever’s recent promise to make all of its plastic packaging fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025; and its challenge to the entire consumer goods industry to accelerate progress towards a circular economy.