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Story | 11/18/2020 14:05:11

Unilever: Reducing plastic packaging with thinner film labels

Unilever, a world-famous multinational consumer goods company, has sustainability embedded in its business. The company has made a commitment that by 2025, it would halve the use of virgin plastic in its packaging and remove more than 100,000 tonnes of plastic entirely. Unilever is transforming its approach to plastic packaging through its “Less plastic, Better plastic, and No plastic” internal framework. This pushes the company into rethinking new packaging solutions focusing on using lighter, stronger and better materials that also have a lower environmental impact, such as using thinner film label solutions. Therefore, the change from 85 micron polyethylene label material to thinner UPM Raflatac Raflex Pro material takes the company one small step closer to reaching its sustainability commitment.

TAKEAWAYS

1. Fostering sustainable business is in the DNA of Unilever

2. UPM Raflatac Raflex Pro label material shows significant reductions of CO2 emissions and moves Unilever closer to reaching its sustainability commitments

3. Thinner label material with exceptional performance brings more value to the bottle converters

Lowering CO2 emission with thin films

Since the implementation of the thin film label material, Unilever has gained multiple sustainability benefits. According to UPM Raflatac’s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculations, the change from PE85 materials to Raflex Pro helps Unilever reduce 245, 893 kg CO2 emissions in total.

Unilever-LCA-numbers.jpg

Apart from the environmental benefit, Raflex Pro brings more value to Unilever’s bottle converters. The solution increases productivity by having more labels per roll. It means less downtime on roll changes and more time on profitable label conversion and dispensing. Besides, the thinner label material provides notable reductions in energy and water use.

“The switch from PE 85 to Raflex Pro is a good example of an initiative that delivers both less plastic and material cost savings. Therefore, it is a win-win for both the planet and the business,” says Rachel Ganzon, Unilever’s Regional Packaging Development Support Manager Hair-SEA.

Collaboration leads to success

Switching from one material to the other, especially from a thicker one to the thinner one, can be challenging for converters.

“Many converters were looking into their process capabilities to support this kind of change to thinner films. By working in close collaboration with the converters and UPM Raflatac, we were able to overcome the challenges. UPM Raflatac’s team was proactive during our cooperation,” says Trung Vo-Kien, Senior Regional Packaging Development Manager Hair-SEA, Unilever. “We are looking to continue our journey together with UPM Raflatac to learn how sustainable label solution can contribute to our goals,” he concludes. 

 

Unilever

Unilever, a world-famous multinational consumer goods company, owns around 400 much-loved brands available in 190 countries covering from food, beverage to home and personal care etc.

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UPM Raflatac Raflex pro

UPM Raflatac Raflex Pro offers the best performance properties of PE and PP for squeezable functionality and maximum shelf appeal. It is designed for labeling contoured and semi-squeezable containers used in home and personal care, food and beverage