Unilever’s Smaller Aerosols Cut Waste, Carbon

by | Feb 4, 2013

Unilever has developed a deodorant can design half the size of its standard model, yet containing the same amount of product.

The company calls this the first major packaging reduction initiative for aerosol deodorant cans since they were introduced in the late 1960s.

The compressed aerosol cans, which will be available beginning today in supermarkets across the UK, have been rolled out for the women’s deodorant brands Sure, Dove and Vaseline. The cans last the same length of time as previous 150 ml-sized cans, while using only 50 percent of the propellant and 28 percent less aluminum, Unilever said.

Due to their smaller size, 53 percent more cans fit onto a pallet, which requires 35 percent fewer trucks on the road transporting the products. Switching to the new can will also reduce the overall carbon footprint of the product by an average of 25 percent per can, compared to the standard sized can, Unilever said.

Some 19 million cans of women’s aerosol deodorant are used every year in the UK. The shift to the smaller cans will mean an annual savings of 24 metric tons of aluminum and 283 mt of carbon, the company said.

The compressed cans will help Unilever make progress on its sustainability targets to halve both the greenhouse gas impact of products across their lifecycle, and the waste associated with the disposal of products, by 2020.

Last month, Unilever announced that more than half of its factories achieved the goal of sending no waste to landfill in 2012, prompting the company to speed up by five years its goal of zero waste to landfill by 2020. By the end of 2015, Unilever’s 252 factories worldwide will not sent any non-hazardous waste to landfill, the company announced.

In addition to reducing its waste in 2012, Unilever also grew the company, reporting annual sales last year of €51 billion ($67.9 billion) — up from €46.5 billion in 2011 and €40 billion in 2010, when the company set the goal of doubling the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact and increasing its positive social impact.

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