Global consumer brands company Unilever announced today plans to launch the first ever paper-based laundry detergent bottle, forming the next step in the company’s goal to tackle plastic waste. Unilever revealed a prototype bottle that it plans to debut in Brazil by early 2022 on its laundry brand OMO (also known as Persil, Skip and Breeze). The company aims to roll the bottle out afterwards in Europe, and announced that it is piloting the same technology to create paper-based hair care bottles.

The introduction of paper-based packaging aligns with Unilever’s environmental sustainability goals, which include 2025 targets to cut its use of virgin plastic in half, and to collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.

The new paper-based technology for the bottles was developed in collaboration with the Pulpex consortium. Pulpex is a first-of-its-kind technology that forms bottles from wood pulp using 100% renewable feedstocks from responsibly managed forests. It was launched in 2020 as a collaboration between venture management company Pilot Lite and beverage alcohol company Diageo, and, in addition to Unilever, includes companies such as bp, PepsiCo and GSK Consumer Healthcare. Last year, Diageo announced plans to debut the world’s first ever 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle on its leading Johnnie Walker scotch whisky brand.

Richard Slater, Unilever Chief R&D Officer, said:

“To tackle plastic waste, we need to completely rethink how we design and package products. This requires a drastic change that can only be achieved through industry-wide collaboration. Pulpex paper-based bottle technology is an exciting step in the right direction, and we are delighted to be working together to trial this innovation for our products.”