Dove moves to 100% recycled plastic bottles, and plastic-free packs for its beauty bar
Today, Dove, one of the largest beauty brands in the world, unveils new initiatives and impact figures to accelerate the global beauty industry’s progress to address plastic waste. As one of the biggest known reduction plans of its kind in the beauty industry, the Dove initiatives will generate an ongoing massive impact, reducing the use of virgin plastic by more than 20,500 tonnes per year. The amount of virgin plastic Dove will save per year would be enough to circle the Earth 2.7 times. The brand has opted for long-term initiatives rather than one-off limited editions to ensure a greater and sustained impact. The announcement will be a key contribution to achieving Unilever’s recently announced goals.
Plastic waste is one of the biggest global environmental and human health issues we face today: an issue being driven by a linear, single-use consumption model. To be part of the solution in creating a circular plastics economy, one where plastics are reused and recycled, Dove is accelerating and expanding its actions with renewed force following the NO | BETTER | LESS PLASTIC framework:
- NO PLASTIC: Dove is paving the way for the rest of the sector with industry-leading innovations – eliminating the use of plastics where possible by using alternative materials and new packaging formats. Next year its iconic beauty bar single packs will be plastic-free globally ,  and development is underway to replace the plastic outer-wrap of its beauty bar multipacks with a zero-plastic material.
- BETTER PLASTIC: Dove is committed to investing in more sustainable plastic choices to reduce the use of virgin plastic, supporting the creation of a circular economy for plastics. This includes today’s announcement that Dove will start to launch new 100% recycled plastic (PCR) bottles where technically feasible, in North America and Europe by the end of 2019 – across all ranges (Dove, Dove Men+Care, and Baby Dove).  Dove continues to search for solutions where recycled plastic is not currently technically feasible, including for caps and pumps.
- LESS PLASTIC: Dove will leverage the technology behind its new reusable, refillable, stainless steel format deodorant sticks: minim™. This technology minimises waste by radically reducing the amount of plastic required. The launch date is not yet confirmed but work is well underway. minim™ will be trialled as part of the LOOP™ platform initiative: a first-of-its-kind, minimal waste, direct-to-consumer shopping system.
Sander Defruyt, New Plastics Economy Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, says: “Better recycling alone will not solve the plastics problems we face today, we must address plastic waste at the source. This means eliminating the plastic items we don’t need, innovating the ones we do need so that all of them are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating all those we use by reusing them, or recycling them into new products and packaging. Action is needed now, and on all of these fronts in parallel. That is why we welcome Dove's announcements. Their significant strides help reduce Dove's use of virgin plastics, and help to accelerate the global transition to a circular economy for plastics."
Dove’s initiatives will contribute to Unilever’s recently announced new commitments on plastic:
- To halve its use of virgin plastic, by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes and accelerating its use of recycled plastic.
- To help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells
They also build on Unilever and Dove’s long history of industry-leading action on plastic alternatives, including Unilever becoming a core partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy initiative and Dove avoiding the use of more than 10,000 tonnes of virgin plastic in the last decade.
Marcela Melero, Dove Global Skin Cleansing Vice President , explains: “At Dove, we believe in care that goes further: for our consumers as well as our planet. We are passionately committed to being one of the brands making the biggest impact against plastic waste . We know we’re not perfect, but we can’t afford to wait. We’re working to have the biggest positive impact we can, as quickly as we can, and empowering others to do the same.”
Through a combination of alternative packaging materials, recycled plastic where needed, and investing in refill technology, Dove is driving the movement to create a new value for plastics and reducing the volume of plastic packaging it produces.
Richard Slater, Unilever Chief R&D Officer comments: “At Dove, we are proud to have more than 100 initiatives ongoing around the world dedicated to tackling plastic waste. But as one of the biggest beauty brands in the world, we have a responsibility to accelerate our progress even further. Today’s announcements are an important step in our work to transform how we produce, use and dispose of plastic packaging. By making this move, we aim to drive the global recycling industry to collect more waste plastic and make more recycled plastic available for use.’’
Dove is committed to leading the fight against plastic waste, and catalysing change within the industry and beyond. Through these initiatives, Dove calls for collaborative, accelerated action to help resolve the world’s plastic problem, shifting both commercial and consumer behaviour to turn the tide against plastic waste.
 The equivalence figure for the amount of virgin plastic bottles Dove will save is calculated on the basis of lining up Dove 16 FL.OZ/473mL bottles end to end.
 Production timing pending on development test results.
 There are only few exceptions within the whole portfolio that are not fully 100% recycled bottles but still present a very high percentage in certain specific markets, and the plan is to achieve 100% very soon. These exceptions are:
- In EU, Dove bottles with MuCell technology will be at 97% recycled plastic content by year end. Liquid hand wash, also with MuCell technology, will be at 97% recycled plastic but we had to postpone the implementation to Q3 2020 as there is not enough reliable, good quality recycled polypropylene available to allow for 100% application.
- The self-foaming and liquid hand wash formats in NA will be at 78% recycled plastic. We continue to explore possible options to move these products to 100%.
- Deodorant packs are made mainly of polypropylene. Currently, there is not enough reliable, good quality recycled polypropylene available to allow for 100% application. So we have started with as much recycled plastic as we can incorporate, without negatively impacting the functional properties of the pack. The percentage of recycled plastic differs, depending on the structures (for example, sticks versus roll-ons) and the pack colours.
- Certain types of colour-vignetted bottles in our Hair range in NA and EU where no technical solution yet exists, but we are exploring ways to make a similar move.
Where relevant, these actions are subject to the appropriate consultations and approvals.
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'will', 'aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'looks', 'believes', 'vision', or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever Group (the 'Group'). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.
Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever's ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; inability to find sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; the effect of climate change on Unilever's business; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Annual Report on Form 20-F 2019 and the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2019.