The consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble is stepping up use of recycled plastic to package its leading products in Europe. P&G’s move comes as the Italian chemical firm Versalis begins developing a process for chemically recycling waste plastic and the UK’s Ineos unveils a system that will enable the recycling of 6.5 billion bottle caps. The moves are a response to increasing consumer concern about plastic pollution and strengthening European legislation aimed at limiting plastic waste.
P&G says it has established a 5-year partnership with the UK waste management firm Viridor to purchase enough recycled high-density polyethylene to make 200 million bottles for its Ariel brand of laundry detergent. The partnership will help P&G meet its commitment to have up to 50% recycled content in its Ariel bottles this year, the firm claims.
P&G will also test new recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging for its Pantene hair care products in Europe, starting with the brand’s clear bottles. The PET maker Indorama Ventures will produce the recycled PET using a chemical process that degrades waste plastic into monomers and then converts them into polymer again.
“By committing to the use of this material, P&G is driving a new circular supply chain, creating an end market for recycled plastics,” Virginie Helias, P&G’s chief sustainability officer, says in a statement.
Separately, Versalis has launched a project, named HoopTM, to develop technology for chemically recycling waste plastic that cannot easily be mechanically recycled. Versalis is working with Servizi di Ricerche e Sviluppo, an Italian engineering firm that owns a pyrolysis technology the partners will adapt to recycling mixed plastic waste.
Versalis says it will build a plant with capacity to produce 6,000 metric tons per year of recycled plastic at its site in Mantova, Italy, with a view to introducing production at its sites across Italy.
Meanwhile, Ineos is partnering with Italy’s Forever Plast to recycle the polyethylene caps used on PET bottles. The partners have developed a grade of recycled polyethylene that mirrors the characteristics of Ineos’s virgin grades so that it is compatible with plastic molding machines. The partners claim this will enable the recycling of 6.5 billion bottle caps over the next five years.