Teabags in particular are being targeted as they form the biggest contributor to Unilever’s waste footprint in the UK.

Through its PG Tips brand, some 20 million Unilever teabags are brewed and discarded each day – and recycling them is now considered priority, according to Helen Fenwick, who heads up the company’s sustainable living plan in the UK and Ireland.

Speaking to edie, she said: “We want to see these recycled, either through food waste collections or home composting and so we have been working to try and increase participation rates among households.”

Unilever has already engaged with two local authorities to introduce kerbside food waste collections and capture more of this material stream through awareness raising by utliising the PG Tips and ‘Monkey’ branding – the next stage according to Fenwick is to figure out how to scale up such pilots.

The company is also looking to influence behavioural change in the kitchen through its Sustain Ability challenge and more imaginative consumer-facing campaigns around food waste.

“We’ve got brands like Colman’s, Hellman’s and Knorr – these products can help people use up their food leftovers in a more interesting way if you give them the ideas and inspiration,” Fenwick said.

Fenwick was talking to edie about Unilever’s wider drive on sustainable consumption – a huge challenge given that on any given day, it is estimated two billion people use Unilever products. Read the full interview here.

Maxine Perella

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