Procter & Gamble continues to work toward an ambitious recycled plastic target as well as packaging-reduction and recyclability goals.
The international consumer goods company reports using 32,200 tons of post-consumer resin in packaging during the 2014-15 fiscal year. That was 12 percent more than Procter & Gamble (P&G) used in 2010.
Using 2010’s recycled content usage as a baseline, P&G’s goal is to double its use of recycled resin by 2020. Achieving the goal would mean using 57,320 tons of recycled plastic annually.
The recycled resin used was primarily in the company’s fabric care, home care and hair care categories, with the vast majority used in North America, according to the company’s 2015 sustainability report. The company plans to increase post-consumer resin usage in North America and develop new capacity to use recycled plastic in other regions. This year it announced plans to use 4,190 tons per year of recycled plastic in fabric care and home care containers in Europe.
“We also know that we will need continued help from the entire recycling value chain to achieve our goal, and we are seeking ongoing support from existing and new industry partners, trade organizations and others,” according to the sustainability report.
Meanwhile, P&G reports progress toward its 2020 goals for reducing packaging and ensuring it’s recyclable. Since 2010, it has reduced “packaging per consumer use” by about 10 percent, halfway toward its goal of a 20 percent reduction.
As examples, P&G now uses a stand-up pouch for its Cascade Action Pacs and, in most of Western Europe, film for Pampers diapers.
But shifts toward films can complicate P&G’s other goal of ensuring 90 percent of packaging is either recyclable or that programs able to recycle it are in place. During the 2014-15 fiscal year, 85 percent of P&G packaging was considered recyclable, according to the report.
P&G acknowledged collection and sortation of single-material films and multi-material laminates is a challenge, however. The report notes P&G recently joined the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) as an initial step to try to help drive the collection and recycling of films.
On another sustainability front, P&G notes it has begun the use of PET derived from plants in its packaging, and it will incorporate the bio-derived PET as cost and scale permits. It has researched producing bio-derived PP – and even created a lab-scale proof – but the economics of the process aren’t currently favorable.
“We therefore believe the best option to address our objective for more sustainable use of PP is to pursue recycled versus bio-PP,” the report states. “We are actively working both internally and externally to develop the technology required to provide recycled PP at the required volumes and quality.”