Unilever North America announced today a $15 million investment in Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund to help recycle an estimated 60,000 metric tons of US plastic packaging waste annually by 2025, an amount equivalent to more than half of Unilever’s plastics footprint in North America. This is part of the company’s commitment to collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells by 2025.
Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund is a private equity fund that acquires and grows companies across the value chain working to increase recycling and keep valuable materials in the circular economy and out of landfills.
Unilever’s goal to collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells is a part of its ambitious set of “Waste-Free World”commitments. Those global commitments include halving use of virgin plastic; ensuring all of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable; and using at least 25 percent recycled plastic in its packaging.
Half of the 118,000 metric tons of plastic packaging used by Unilever North America is PCR plastic. Many of its brands, including Dove, Hellmann’s, and Seventh Generation, already use 100 percent PCR bottles. The investment in Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund will help secure additional PCR plastic supply for Unilever brands and increase access to recycled plastic feedstock processed by the companies the Fund invests in.
In addition to its private investments to improve recycling, Unilever is advocating for producer responsibility legislation that would significantly increase broader investment needed from the industry to transform the recycling system. The company is working with major CPG companies through the Circular Economy Accelerators to promote a plan for brands to fund needed recycling infrastructure investments in the U.S. In Canada, Unilever North America participates in extended producer responsibility programs in provinces with established programs.