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Need to Know

Unilever and Veolia to Collaborate on Sustainable Packaging

Three-year partnership aims to improve infrastructure to help create a circular economy for plastic waste.

Unilever and Veolia announced they have signed a collaboration agreement to work on emerging technologies that will help create a circular economy on plastics across various geographies, starting in India and Indonesia.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, just 14 percent of the plastic packaging used globally is collected for recycling after use, with 40 percent ending up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems.

In 2017, Unilever made the commitment to ensure that all its plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. To help create an end market for this material, the company also committed to increase the recycled plastic content in its packaging to at least 25 percent by 2025.

“The scale of the plastic waste issue is getting worse, not better, with the production of plastics expected to double over the next two decades,” said Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief supply chain officer, in a statement. “We all have a lot more to do to address this critical issue, and we hope that by partnering with Veolia, a world leader in waste management, we can take meaningful strides toward a circular economy.”

Unilever and Veolia will work to focus on material collection, which will help channel recycled content back into the value chain. Veolia will work with Unilever to implement used packaging collection solutions, add recycling capacity and develop new processes and business models through this partnership in various countries.

“There is an undeniable need to transform the current way plastic packaging end of life is managed in order to significantly reduce its environmental footprint,” said Laurent Auguste, senior executive vice president of development, innovation and markets for Veolia, in a statement. “It will take a collaboration of a new kind between all the actors of the value chain. With this global partnership, Veolia and Unilever join forces in various geographies around the globe and, from the collection to the recycling, take a leadership role to redefine a responsible and sustainable future for packaging.”

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