"Through our retailer collaborations we can engage shoppers and help to make recycling a lifelong habit."

Vera Markl-Moser
Sustainable Business Director

Working with consumers to promote recycling

Collecting and sorting recyclable materials plays an important part in ensuring they can be reused. That means consumers have a vital role in the circular economy. Our aim is to promote recycling among consumers, raise awareness at government and NGO level, and help workers economically. We have a number of projects which encourage people to recycle more and help to make recycling a lifelong habit.

In Brazil, for example, we work with Consumer Goods Forum companies and NGO CEMPRE to increase the types of materials recycled, drop-off points for used packaging, and co-operatives to sort materials. Our partner, Brazilian retailer Pão de Açúcar, has drop-off points in their stores where consumers can bring used packaging, and our brands engage with consumers to encourage recycling. This initiative has collected over 117,000 tonnes of material since the programme began 17 years ago. In 2018, we supported 94 recycling stations across 27 cities, and 21 co-operatives that generate income (directly and indirectly) for over 3,170 people.

Incentivising behaviour change is a big part of inspiring lifelong recycling habits. That’s why, in Argentina, we have started a partnership with the Buenos Aires City Government and retailers in the area to increase the volume of recycled material available to packaging producers. Consumers are offered discount benefits to encourage them to bring their waste packaging to government recycling points.

In some countries, waste can be an opportunity for enhancing livelihoods, with many informal but highly-organised networks collecting waste for recycling.

In Indonesia, our Community Waste Bank Programme is designed to empower communities to manage their domestic waste. Through our Unilever Indonesia Foundation, we’ve helped communities in 18 cities to develop a system where they can collect and sell inorganic waste. The money received is saved within the community waste bank and can be cashed in over time. The system works like a regular bank, except that waste is deposited instead of money. In 2018, 2,816 community waste banks with over 429,000 members collected 7,779 tonnes of packaging waste, worth 10.49 billion IDR. Since 2012, the waste banks have collected a total of 25,672 tonnes of packaging waste, worth 33.93 billion IDR. In 2018, the programme began a flexible waste pilot and opened a waste transfer station in East Java, and also collected pouches through 100 dropbox points in Jakarta and the surrounding area.

Learn more about our strategy towards a circular economy, the programs we have initiated and how everyone of us can make a difference towards a world with less plastic ==> https://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/reducing-environmental-impact/waste-and-packaging/rethinking-plastic-packaging/

 

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