German chemical and consumer goods company Henkel set new sustainable packaging targets. By 2025, the goal is for 100% of their packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable.
In that timeframe, the company also plans to use 35% recycled plastic for Henkel European consumer goods products.
“Only by reusing and recycling as much material as possible will we be able to live well within the resource limits of our planet,” said Kathrin Menges, executive vice president of human resources at Henkel and chair of Henkel’s Sustainability Council. “This concept is at the heart of our approach to sustainable packaging.”
The ambitious packaging targets are in line with the company’s longtime focus on the circular economy. In March, Henkel launched partnership with Waste Free Oceans to gather plastic waste from waterways and turn it into Lovable laundry brand bottles with the goal of having enough material for at least 1 million bottles. Also last spring the company announced it was collaborating with Mondi on ways to for Henkel to incorporate more scrap plastic into flexible laminate packaging material.
In order to reach the new packaging goals, the company has outlined the following strategic framework:
Materials from sustainable sources. “Henkel is committed to including an increasing share of sustainable materials into its product packaging – this relates both to its use of recycled materials, especially recycled plastic, and renewable materials such as paper and cardboard,” the company says.
Smart packaging design. “Smart designs are the prerequisite to further replace virgin material in Henkel’s product packaging — this is why the company will put an even stronger focus on design principles that enable a circular economy right from the start,” according to the company. They also plan to explore value chain solutions and continue to reduce packaging material amounts used.
Closing the loop. “Henkel is committed to making sure its product packaging can be recycled after the product has been consumed,” the company says. In addition, their leadership plans to look into approaches such as refillable systems that allow consumers to reuse packaging. Finding biodegradable materials that meet international composting standards is another priority.
Partnerships are key for the company. They are participating in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative as well as the Plastic Bank social enterprise. “Together with our partners along the entire value chain, we want to include materials from sustainable sources into smart designs to close the loop,” Menges said.