New technology employed by Unilever NV in the manufacture of bottles for its Dove Body Wash range of products could end up saving the brand owner up to 275 metric tons of plastic a year.
The consumer products giant said the bottles would contain 15 percent less plastic by using a process based on MuCell Extrusion LLC's technology for blow molding, developed in collaboration with two of its global packaging suppliers, MuCell Extrusion — a part of Croydon, England-based Zotefoams plc — and packaging maker Alpla GmbH.
Unilever said it intended to widen the availability of the technology and would be waiving specific exclusivity rights by January next year, “so that other manufacturers can start to use it across their brands and products”.
Paul Howells, Unilever's vice president R&D packaging, said: “Working with our two partners, we've created a unique technology that will transform our portfolio.
“But there's only so much that Unilever can achieve on our own. 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.”
Mark Lindenfelzer, president of MuCell Extrusion, said: “While 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, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, said packaging made using the technology would remain 100 percent recyclable.