Unilever is using a new technology to launch the first ever paper-based laundry detergent bottle. A prototype has been developed for leading laundry brand OMO (also known as Persil, Skip and Breeze) and is set to debut in Brazil by early 2022, with an ambition for roll-out in Europe and other countries soon after. Unilever is also piloting the same technology to create paper-based hair care bottles.
This ground-breaking technology has been developed in partnership with the Pulpex consortium, a collaboration between Unilever, Diageo, Pilot Lite and other industry members. Unilever has been able to use the technology to package liquid products in first-of-its-kind paper-based bottles, made of sustainably sourced pulp and designed to be recycled in the paper waste stream.
The bottles are sprayed inside with a proprietary coating that repels water, enabling the paper-based packaging material to hold liquid products like laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioners, which contain surfactants, fragrances and other active ingredients.
Creating recyclable, paper-based packaging without additional plastic layers is a huge challenge. Pulpex’s patented pulp packaging provides a promising solution to radically reduce the use of plastic and will help Unilever achieve its commitments to a waste-free world.
Richard Slater, Unilever chief R&D officer, said: “To tackle plastic waste, we need to completely rethink how we design and package products. This requires a drastic change that can only be achieved through industry-wide collaboration. Pulpex paper-based bottle technology is an exciting step in the right direction, and we are delighted to be working together to trial this innovation for our products.
“Innovating with alternative materials is a key part of our sustainable packaging strategy and will play an important role in our commitment to halve our use of virgin plastic materials by 2025.”