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OMO Pulpex Prototype

Unilever is launching what it claims is the world’s first paper-based laundry detergent bottle.

A prototype has been developed for laundry brand OMO (also known as Persil and Skip & Breeze) and will be available in Brazil next year. It is expected to hit UK supermarket shelves later in 2022.

The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp and designed to be recycled in the paper waste stream. Rather than a plastic lining, the containers are sprayed inside with a proprietary coating that repels water, enabling the bottle to hold liquid products which contain surfactants, fragrances and other active ingredients.

Unilever is piloting the same materials and technique to create paper-based haircare bottles.

The bottle has been developed in partnership with the Pulpex consortium, a collaboration between Unilever, Diageo, Pilot Lite and other industry members and promises to “radically reduce the use of plastic” Unilever said.

“To tackle plastic waste, we need to completely rethink how we design and package products,” said Richard Slater, Unilever chief R&D officer.

“This requires a drastic change that can only be achieved through industry-wide collaboration. Pulpex paper-based bottle technology is an exciting step in the right direction, and we are delighted to be working together to trial this innovation for our products,” Slater added.

Unilever has committed to halving its use of virgin plastic by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes, and ensure all the plastic it does use is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable.

The company is following a ‘less plastic, better plastic, no plastic’ innovation framework, it said.

“Innovating with alternative materials is a key part of our sustainable packaging strategy and will play an important role in our commitment to halve our use of virgin plastic materials by 2025,” Slater said.

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