Dove Body Wash bottles will contain at a minimum 15 percent less plastic as a result of a newly developed packaging technology launched by Unilever.
The MuCell Technology for Extrusion Blow Moulding (EBM) was created in close collaboration with two of Unilever’s global packaging suppliers, ALPLA and MuCell Extrusion. It represents a breakthrough in bottle technology: by using gas-injection to create gas bubbles in the middle layer of the bottle wall, it reduces the density of the bottle and the amount of plastic required.
The technology will be deployed first in Europe across the Dove Body Wash range, before the technology is further rolled out. With up to 33 million Dove Body Wash bottles sold across Europe in 2013, Unilever says the new technology stands to save up to 275 tonnes of plastic a year; whereas a full roll-out across every Unilever product and packaging format could save up to 27,000 tonnes of plastic and contribute significantly to the target set out in the company’s ‘Sustainable Living Plan’ to halve its waste footprint by 2020.
Unilever will waive specific exclusivity rights by January 2015 so that other manufacturers can start to use the technology across their brands and products.
“There’s only so much that Unilever can achieve on its own; and by opening up access to other manufacturers we will really start to see an impact. We very much hope that our peers in the industry will take advantage of this technology too and apply it to their products,” explained Paul Howells, Vice President R&D Packaging at Unilever.
Mark Lindenfelzer, President of MuCell Extrusion LLC, said, “Whilst consumers won’t see any difference in the bottles, the impact on the environment will be very real. We’re delighted to be part of this development and believe that it marks a real shift for manufacturers who want to behave responsibly.”
Unilever says all packaging with the technology will remain 100 percent recyclable.