Dove unveils plastic-free beauty bar packaging and 100% recycled plastic bottles

The new PCR bottles will be rolled out across Dove's original range

The moves form part of the Unilever-owned beauty brand’s overarching commitment to mitigate the use of 20,500 tones of virgin plastics annually by 2025.

On bottles, Dove will start to launch 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottles across its markets in Europe and North America by the end of 2019. PCR content will be included “where technically feasible”, Dove said in a statement, noting that PCR plastic is not currently able to be used in bottle caps and pumps.

As for beauty bars, Dove will launch plastic-free, paper-based boxes for single-format bars by the end of 2020. The bars are currently housed in flexible plastic films in several markets. Building on this change, Dove will develop a zero-plastic solution for beauty bar multipacks.

Each of these moves falls under one of the three pillars of Unilever’s “no, better, less” framework for plastics packaging. The use of PCR bottles is being counted under “better” plastic, while the new beauty bar boxes fall under “no” plastic.

On “less” plastics, Dove has committed to launching a new reusable, refillable format for its deodorant sticks. This packaging will consist mainly of stainless steel. Dove says work is “well underway” to determine which markets to launch this packaging in, and when.

“At Dove, we are proud to have more than 100 initiatives ongoing around the world dedicated to tackling plastic waste -but as one of the biggest beauty brands in the world, we have a responsibility to accelerate our progress even further,” Unilever’s chief R&D officer Richard Slater said.

“Today’s announcements are an important step in our work to transform how we produce, use and dispose of plastic packaging. By making this move, we aim to drive the global recycling industry to collect more waste plastic and make more recycled plastic available for use.”

The new moves from Dove have been welcomed by WRAP, which counts Unilever as one of the 130+ members of its UK Plastics Pact. But the body’s strategic engagement manager Helen Bird also believes consumers must now take responsibility to change behaviours and choose health and beauty items housed in no, less or better plastics.

“Making these initiatives a success also rests with citizens; using refill and concentrate options and also recycling the packaging so that it can be remanufactured,” Bird said. “Our research shows that while we are well accustomed to recycling items from the kitchen, there is often valuable plastic packaging missed from the bathroom.”

To find out more about how Unilever is approaching the plastics pollution problem, read our feature entitled: ‘Inside Unilever’s plastics packaging strategy’.

Unilever at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum

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The flagship, multi-award-winning event features keynotes speakers including Unilever CSO Rebecca Marmot, who will be joined by the likes of Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland; Tom Szaky, TerraCycle CEO; Gilbert Ghostine, Firmenich CEO plus directors and senior managers from Interface, Vattenfall, John Lewis, Taylor Wimpey, Aviva, Pret A Manger, Pernod Ricard, LEGO Group, M&S, Diageo, Tesco, WSP, BASF, Mondelēz and more. For details and to register, visit:

Sarah George

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