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Closing the loop: Boosting recycling in the bathroom and beyond

You’d never throw money away, but with an estimated $11 billion of material going to landfills instead of recycling centers each year, that’s just what is happening in the United States . Unilever became a founding investor in the Closed Loop Fund to change this.

Recycling on curb

We may think that we are recycling plenty, but the numbers tell a different story. While 56% of Americans recycle their kitchen items, only 14% do the same for their bathroom bottles. Because of this disparity there’s a shortage of recycled plastics and materials to make new ones, meaning any new bottles come mostly or entirely from new plastics. What’s more, some households don’t have access to recycling programs at all.

Encouraging everyone to Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine. in every room of the house is one way we’re helping bring attention to this issue and working towards our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goal of halving the waste associated with disposing of our products.

The Closed Loop Fund is another crucial part, since it’s making sure that those recycled bottles can be recycled all across the country.

Founding the fund

In 2013, Unilever joined other major companies in making a major contribution to help fund new or improved recycling centers across America.

With a fund of $100 million, the Closed Loop Fund is aiming to make sure that every household in the U.S. has access to a convenient curbside recycling program so that recyclable items like plastics from the kitchen and from the bathroom don’t need to end up in landfills.

How the loop works

The “Loop” is all about making sure materials end up back into products and packaging once they’ve served their purpose in our homes:

Raw materials are used to create the packaging for products we use every day like Dove® Men+Care Clean Comfort Body Wash. After we’ve finished using these items, if they’re thrown in the trash or if a city doesn’t have a recycling program, they end up in landfills -- often shipped miles away -- and more new material must be created for more products.

If we can Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine. and build up recycling centers, these bottles can be reprocessed and used again to make other packaging, creating a steady loop from manufacturers, to our homes, to recycling centers, and back to store’s shelves.

From packaging to profits

If every metropolitan area had robust recycling options, it could save cities $2 billion by 2025, create 27,000 local jobs, keep 27 million tons of materials like plastic from becoming waste, and prevent 77 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

How can you help?

While the Closed Loop Fund is financing recycling centers across the country, we need your help in making sure they have plenty of materials. The simplest way you can help is by joining us is being sure to Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine., which means making sure your bathroom empties like TRESemmé® Moisture Rich Conditioner or Simple® and Suave® products end up in the recycling bin alongside your kitchen items.

You can create your own bathroom recycling bin, try these fun ways to get children excited for recycling, or take the How Well Do You Rate On The "Green Scale"? quiz to test your eco-savvy.

If we each make small changes, we can create a brighter future for all – and it starts with your bathroom empties. Join us in committing to Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine. and head to @UnileverUSA on Twitter to vote on what we should turn our recycled bathroom bottles into!

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