Unilever launches recycled plastic Magnum tubs

Unilever has debuted a new Magnum ice-cream tub made using 25% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic content.

Unilever is targeting the inclusion of at least 25% recycled content across its plastics packaging portfolio by 2025. Image: Unilever

Unilever is targeting the inclusion of at least 25% recycled content across its plastics packaging portfolio by 2025. Image: Unilever

In what it claims is a first for the luxury ice cream brand, Unilever has sent 600,000 of the innovative tubs to retailers across Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands this week.

This initial roll-out is a precursor to the distribution of three million more of the new tubs across Unilever’s other European and global markets in 2020.

The tubs are made using a mass balance approach, whereby PCR plastic is mixed with virgin feedstocks in order to retain the material’s appearance and integrity. To ensure the quality and authenticity of the PCR feedstock, Magnum is working with the Institute of Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) to verify its origin and supply chain.

“We are proud to be one of the world’s first food brands to pioneer this ground-breaking technology,” Magnum’s vice president Julien Barraux said.

“Pleasure Seekers can now indulge in signature Magnum luxury with the knowledge that they can play a positive role in reducing the impact of plastics on the environment.”

Five Point Plastics Plan’

The new pots form part of Unilever’s broader five-point plastics reduction strategy. The facets of this plan, launched earlier this year as a follow up to its previous three-pronged approach, are reducing plastic; switching to recyclable materials and recycled content; seeking alternatives to plastics and working in collaboration with partners across the value chain.

On the second of these pillars, Unilever is aiming to remove all plastics packaging which is not reusable, recyclable or compostable from its portfolio by 2025. By the same date, it is targeting the inclusion of at least 25% recycled content in all plastics packaging lines.

As of 2017, more than 4,800 tonnes of post-consumer PCR plastic has been used in Unilever’s plastic bottles – largely in the form of high-density polyethene (HDPE) and PET.

This is largely due to the fact that Unilever has introduced individual product lines which use recycled content exceeding the 25% collective target. Bottles of Knorr salad dressing in South Africa consist of 35% recycled PET; Cif bottles in Argentina contain 50% recycled PET; Sunlight washing-up liquid is housed in 100% recycled plastic bottles in South Africa, and the company’s Love Beauty Planet range of beauty products is housed in 100% recycled packaging.

Sarah George



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