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Dove’s new initiatives will reduce the use of virgin plastic by 23,000-plus tons per year

Dove announces new initiatives as part of its 2025 commitment to reduce plastic waste, which include a move to 100% recycled plastic bottles, and plastic-free packs for its beauty bar.

Dove’s new initiatives will reduce the use of virgin plastic by 23,000-plus tons per year.
Dove’s new initiatives will reduce the use of virgin plastic by 23,000-plus tons per year.

Global beauty brand Dove has unveiled new initiatives and impact figures to accelerate the global beauty industry’s progress to address plastic waste. According to Dove, its initiatives, expected to reduce the use of virgin plastics by approximately 23,000 tons per year, will be one of the largest reduction plans of its kind in the beauty industry. Adds the company, the amount of virgin plastic it will save per year will be enough to circle the Earth 2.7 times. (The equivalence figure for the amount of virgin plastic bottles Dove will save is calculated on the basis of lining up Dove 16-oz/473-mL bottles end to end.) The brand says it has opted for long-term initiatives rather than one-off limited editions to ensure a greater and sustained impact.

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:

  1. NO PLASTIC: Dove is 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 (production timing is pending on development test results), and development is underway to replace the plastic outerwrap of its beauty-bar multipacks with a zero-plastic material.
  2. 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). 1Dove says it continues to search for solutions where recycled plastic is not currently technically feasible, including for caps and pumps.
  3. LESS PLASTIC: Dove will leverage the technology behind its new reusable, refillable, stainless steel format deodorant sticks: minim™. This technology minimizes waste by reducing the amount of plastic required. The launch date is not yet confirmed, but work is well underway. Minim will be trialed as part of the LOOP™ platform initiative.

Says Sander Defruyt, New Plastics Economy Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “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 110,000 tons 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 history of action on plastic alternatives, including Unilever becoming a partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy initiative and Dove avoiding the use of more than 11,000 tons of virgin plastic in the last decade.

Explains Marcela Melero, Dove Global Skin Cleansing Vice President, “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.”

Adds, Richard Slater, Unilever Chief R&D Officer, “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.’’

1According to Dove, there are only a 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 Europe, Dove bottles with MuCell technology will be at 97% recycled plastic content by year end. Liquid handwash, also with MuCell technology, will be at 97% recycled plastic but Dove had to postpone the implementation to Q3-20 as there is not enough reliable, good quality recycled PP available to allow for 100% application.
  • The self-foaming and liquid handwash formats in North America will be at 78% recycled plastic. Dove says its continues to explore possible options to move these products to 100%.
  • Deodorant packs are made mainly of PP. Currently, there is not enough reliable, good quality recycled PP available to allow for 100% application, says Dove. So the company has started with as much recycled plastic as it 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 colors.
  • Certain types of color-vignetted bottles in its hair range in North America and Europe, where no technical solution yet exists. But Dove says it is exploring ways to make a similar move.
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