Unilever is using a new technology to create the first-ever paper-based laundry detergent bottle, made of sustainably sourced pulp and designed to be recycled in standard paper waste streams.
A prototype is being developed for our OMO brand – which is also known as Persil, Skip and Breeze depending on where you live in the world. This is set to debut in Brazil by early 2022 and we are also piloting the same technology to create paper-based hair care bottles.
The ground-breaking technology has been developed in partnership with the Pulpex consortium – a collaboration between Unilever, Diageo, Pilot Lite and other industry members.
The ability to package liquid products in paper-based bottles will be a huge achievement, but before they hit the shelves, our packaging scientists will run a range of tests to see how they perform in real-life situations – from transportation to storage in damp environments. It’s important that they fulfil our requirements in terms of durability, user experience and reduction of environmental impact.
A radical rethink
The bottles are sprayed inside with a proprietary coating that repels water, enabling the material to hold liquid products like laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioners which contain surfactants, fragrances and other active ingredients.
While creating recyclable, paper-based packaging without additional plastic layers is a massive challenge, the Pulpex solution offers a promising way to radically reduce plastic use in line with our commitments to a waste-free world.
“To tackle plastic waste, we need to completely rethink how we design and package products,” says Richard Slater, Unilever’s Chief R&D Officer. “This requires a drastic change that can only be achieved through industry-wide collaboration. Pulpex paper bottle technology is an exciting step in the right direction, and we are delighted to be working together to trial this innovation for our products.”
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of products on the planet and are making purchasing choices based on sustainability factors, including packaging. Delivering functionally superior products that address environmental issues that people care about – such as innovative sustainable packaging – will make Unilever a stronger, more successful business.