Unilever tackles plastic sachet waste


Monday, 22 May, 2017


Unilever has developed a new technology called CreaSolv Process to recycle sachet waste. This technology has been developed with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging in Germany and is inspired by processes used to recycle television sets.

As part of its sustainable living plan, Unilever has developed the CreaSolv Process technology — adapted from a method used to separate brominated flame retardants from waste electrical and electronic equipment polymers. During the process, the plastic is recovered from the sachet, and the plastic is then used to create new sachets for Unilever products — creating a full circular economy approach.

“Billions of sachets are used once and just thrown away, all over the world, ending up in landfill or in our waterways and oceans. At the start of this year we made a commitment to help solve this problem, developing new recycling technologies. We intend to make this tech open source and would hope to scale the technology with industry partners, so others — including our competitors — can use it,” said David Blanchard, chief R&D officer.

Unilever will open a pilot plant in Indonesia later this year to test the long-term commercial viability of the technology. To tackle the industry-wide sachet waste issue, Unilever is looking to create a sustainable system change by setting up waste collection schemes to direct the sachets to be recycled.

Unilever is testing this by working with local waste banks, governments and retailers, and will look to empower waste pickers, integrate them into the mainstream economy and to provide a potential long-term income, generating wider growth in the economy.

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