Procter & Gamble Co. is teaming up with recyclers TerraCycle Inc. and Suez Environnement SA to create the first-ever shampoo bottle containing up to 25 percent recycled beach plastic.
P&G is rolling out plans for the limited edition container for its Head & Shoulders brand of shampoo in news announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
And while the beach plastic packaging is sure to grab attention, the Cincinnati-based company also is committing to a recycled-content goal that will have a much greater impact on recycling markets.
P&G also plans to use 25 percent post-consumer plastic in more than a half a billion hair care bottles sold in Europe by the end of 2018.
The beach plastic bottles will be available in France this summer as a limited edition bottle sold at retailer Carrefour.
The larger 2018 goal will need plenty of recycled plastic each year and cover containers sold around Europe, according to P&G.
“This represents about more than 90 percent of all the bottles that we sell in Europe across the hair care portfolio,” said Virginie Helias, vice president of global sustainability, during a news conference to announce the company's latest recycling efforts.
“To give you an idea of the scale, this will require 2,600 metric tons of post-consumer recycled plastic. Imagine the weight of eight fully loaded 747 jumbo jets,” she said.
TerraCycle will act as a conduit between groups performing waterway cleanups in Europe, and Suez, which will process the collected plastic. TerraCycle has created a name for itself over the years by tackling difficult-to-recycle materials.
“There's a huge challenge today in plastics in that very little of it today is actually recovered and recycled,” TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky said during the news conference.
TerraCycle, he explained, has engaged with hundreds of cleanup groups across Europe to keep the plastics they pick up away from disposal.
“All of this material, instead of being thrown out, is being collected by TerraCycle and through our collaboration with Suez and some quite incredible science, we're able to take this completely mixed material and turn it into a very high performance polymer that can then be introduced at 25 percent into a bottle,” he said.
“The exciting thing here is that this project is something that is really just the beginning of where this entire beach plastic initiative will go,” Szaky said about further developing the supply chain.
Suez, a waste management and recycling firm, has a network of nine plastic recycling facilities in Europe. “We are turning beach plastic in to high quality polyethylene. Once the plastic has been collected by TerraCycle, we are shredding it. We are washing it. We are making flakes, and then we are making granulates,” said Jean-Marc Boursier, group senior executive vice president in charge of recycling and recovery in Europe for Suez.
The plastic will be sent to the company's Quality Circular Polymers facility in the Netherlands for processing. “This is the beginning of an adventure,” Boursier said at the news conference.