Unilever Tests Deodorant Recycling

by | Nov 19, 2012

Earth911 and global consumer goods company Unilever, whose more than 400 brands include Dove, Suave and Q-tips, announced a project to test whether deodorant sticks can be economically recycled.

The project team, with supporting partners Nextlife and FundingFactory, will try to demonstrate that the many million of deodorant sticks thrown in the trash each year represent a significant raw material resource for communities that recycle plastics.

The project will work with students within 50 high schools and colleges to collect deodorant sticks for the recycling test. FundingFactory, a fundraising-by-recycling program for schools and nonprofits, will facilitate the collection of deodorant sticks at the schools and universities and send the products to Nextlife for processing into recycled polypropylene resin.

If the program is successful, the companies will be able to provide the recycling industry with information that shows multi-resin deodorant sticks can be profitably recycled, said Michael Hughes, Unilever’s senior manager, packaging research and development for North America.

The deodorant recycling program is one way for Unilever to fulfill goals set forth in its Sustainable Living Plan, which includes 50 targets under three main initiatives. Unilever, which established its goals in 2010, has committed to 2020 targets including helping more than one billion people improve their health and well being; halving the environmental footprint of its products from a 2008 baseline; and sourcing 100 percent of the company’s agricultural raw materials sustainably.

Earlier this month, Unilever UK & Ireland announced the launch of a consumer research project aimed at helping families live more sustainably and reduce household waste by 25 percent, while cutting their monthly food bill by 15 percent.

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