Global consumer brands company Unilever announced today the launch of a new laundry capsule with sustainability features designed to lower the carbon footprint of the laundry process and reduce plastic packaging and product waste.

Laundry capsules are the fastest growing detergent format in many parts of the world. Launched under Unilever’s Dirt is Good brand – also known as Persil, Skip, OMO and Surf Excel – the new product is designed to deliver top cleaning performance in cold, short cycles, saving up to 60% energy use, contributing to the company’s efforts to address its Scope 3 emissions, or those outside the company’s direct control.

In a statement announcing the new product, Unilever said:

“This is an important step in reducing the Scope 3 GHG emissions of our laundry business, which includes those associated with consumers’ end use of our products, like the energy required to power washing machine.”

Outside of consumer use, the new capsules have a 16% reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint compared to current capsules, through the raw materials, manufacturing and disposal process. The product contains biodegradable active ingredients that are 65% derived from plant sources, and utilize a biodegradable capsule membrane.

The plastic-free cardboard container for the new capsules was developed in partnership with fiber-based consumer packaging solutions Graphic Packaging International, and was engineered to lock out moisture better than current plastic packaging. The cardboard for the container is 50% from recycled sources, with the rest from FSC-certified forests. By utilizing plastic-free containers, Unilever anticipates preventing over 6,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually.

Ralf Mack, Director New Business Development, EU Consumer Products at Graphic Packaging International said:

“Working together with Unilever, we are delighted to see our innovative packaging solution launch under this iconic brand around the world. Our combined expertise in carton design, product protection capabilities and understanding of consumer behaviour has enabled us to create this superior, plastic-free and child-proof solution, enabling consumers and businesses alike to reduce their use of single-use plastic.”

The new product launch forms part of Unilever’s Clean Future strategy, a €1 billion program aimed at incorporating climate-focused and circular considerations into the creation, manufacturing and packaging of cleaning and laundry products, including the elimination of fossil fuels in the products by 2030. Unilever has pursued several initiatives to enhance the sustainability profiles of its products, and has pledged to achieve net zero emissions from all products by 2039.

Dr Keith Rutherford, Head of Global Innovation, Unilever Home Care R&D said:

“Through our Clean Future programme, our ambition is to make sustainable cleaning the compelling choice for every consumer by bringing real innovation to established mass market products. The research, development, and manufacturing skill that is required shouldn’t be underestimated. The new proprietary formulation and child-proof cardboard packaging is the work of so many people. This is our best and most sustainable laundry capsule yet – it is truly industry leading.”

The new laundry capsule will be introduced in France in September, followed by planned rollouts in other markets, including the UK and other European countries in early 2023.

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