We are committed to removing or reducing plastic packaging wherever possible and investing in research into alternative materials that can replace its use.
Where we will continue to use plastic in packaging, we will ensure that at least 25% of its content is recycled plastic by 2025, where possible or allowed by regulators.
By 2025, 100% of our plastic packaging will also be recyclable or reusable, with best-in-class labelling to help consumers recycle effectively.
We will work with peers and governments to enable products in our health portfolio to meet these targets without compromising their safety and efficacy for patients and consumers.
Plastic has proved itself one of the most versatile materials ever invented thanks to its light weight, flexibility, durability, resistance to moisture, and relative low cost. As a result, it is widely used to provide safe packaging for our food, drink and medicines as well as many household products. But one of the unintended consequences of its widespread use is that it causes enormous environmental damage – from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with its 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, to the millions of tons sent to landfill every year. It takes a long time for plastics to break down – or biodegrade – which is contributing to a mounting issue that has become a systemic, global problem.
Reckitt has long been aware of the positive and negative aspects of plastic packaging. We have always seen plastic as a valuable resource to be used like any other – efficiently and effectively.
As a company, we try to reduce our packaging as much as possible, eliminating waste wherever we can through innovation. Since 2003 we have been working to make our trigger sprays more environmentally friendly, including the removal of all metal. This year we have gone further and adopted a smaller design for triggers which will cut plastic use by 570 tonnes a year. By the end of 2019, all but one of our triggers will be 100% recyclable. Last year we achieved our target of sending zero waste to landfill from our factories. But we recognise we need to do more.
Responsible plastic use is not just about keeping it to the minimum and replacing its use where possible – it’s about ensuring that we reuse and recycle as much as possible too.
Plastic provides the best solution in terms of safety, cost and carbon footprint for many products but its post-sale life must be thoughtfully addressed. Where it can be replaced effectively, it should be.