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Brand giant Unilever to halve new plastic use by 2025

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Brand giant Unilever to halve new plastic use by 2025
Unilever, which owns popular brands like Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap, said it will halve its use of new plastic for products by 2025. File Photo by Ben & Jerry's/UPI

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Unilever, one of the world's oldest and largest multinational consumer goods distributors, announced Monday it will substantially cut back its use of new plastic over the next several years in a bid to reduce environmental waste.

The Britain-based company, which owns the brands Ben & Jerry's, Lipton and Dove, said the move aims to create a circular economy for existing plastics -- rather than relying on the production of new, or "virgin," plastic. It plans to halve its use of new plastic by 2025.

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Unilever said it will instead use more recycled materials and process its own plastic packaging. It's the first major consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its brands, the company noted.

"Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment," Unilever CEO Alan Jope said. "We can only eliminate plastic waste by acting fast and taking radical action at all points in the plastic cycle.

"Our starting point has to be design, reducing the amount of plastic we use, and then making sure that what we do use increasingly comes from recycled sources. We are also committed to ensuring all our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable."

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"We urge others to follow their lead," said Ellen MacArthur, founder of a charity in her name that encourages circular economic growth.

Established in 1929, Unilever owns more than 400 consumer brands and reported sales of $56 billion last year.

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