Consumer brands major Unilever has joined Nextek’s global project NextLoopp to create food-grade recycled polypropylene from post-consumer packaging waste.
Although a commonly used packaging material for food across the globe, post-consumer PP packaging is not widely recycled in conventional mechanical recycling infrastructure.
As a consequence, current food-grade recycled PP is currently limited to advanced recycling technology processes.
The NextLoopp project, initiated and led by sustainability consultancy Nextek is a two-year multi-participant project aimed at closing the loop on food-grade recycled PP. It is based on a decontamination technology in combination with the use of an innovative fluorescent marker sorting technology called Prism.
A consortium of companies from across the value chain are taking part on the project. The latest of these is Unilever, which announced that it has joined the effort.
Unilever has committed to cutting the use of virgin plastic in its packaging by half, and to remove more than 100,000 metric tons of plastic entirely by 2025 through its "less, better, no" plastic framework as a guiding principle to drive the transition towards a circular economy.
“Unlocking the mechanical recycling route to produce food-grade rPP will help boost our efforts to keep plastics in a loop and out of the environment,” said Sanjeev Das, global packaging director in foods and refreshment, at Unilever.
As a company that is committed to bringing sustainability and circularity to its many products, Unilever is a welcome participant, said Nextek founder Edward Kosior.
“We look forward to achieving the goal of creating a long-term solution for PP packaging so that consumers can be confident that when they participate in recycling, they are contributing to a better outcome for everyone.”