Environmental

Plastic Packaging

Packaging plays an essential role in delivering products to our consumers. Product protection, consumer safety, ease of use, and communication of safety and use information to consumers are just some of the critical functions packaging delivers. As we work to ensure our packaging delivers against key performance criteria, we also seek to drive greater circularity of our packaging at end of life and are working towards 100% recyclable or reusable packaging.

Plastic is one of the materials used in our packaging. Plastic packaging can deliver meaningful benefits in terms of material reductions, product protection, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. At P&G we’re concerned that plastic waste in our environment is a serious problem, especially when it ends up in our rivers and oceans. It’s a complex global challenge that requires a comprehensive, collaborative approach across the entire plastics lifecycle. Addressing this challenge and driving greater circularity for plastics will require collaboration across multiple stakeholders including industry, governments, civil society, and academics.

At P&G, we take our stewardship obligations for plastics packaging seriously and as we advance our packaging efforts, we are guided by the following principles:

We are guided by science and life cycle thinking – recognizing the need to look at lifecycle impacts of material choices to help inform our design decisions

We are guided by the waste management hierarchy and seek first to reduce, reuse, and recycle as part of our materials management process

Collaboration – we acknowledge that the size and scale of the challenges in front of us will require us to collaborate with others to drive impacts at scale

P&G Efforts

Driving greater circularity in plastic packaging is fundamentally a system challenge that will require collaboration across industry, governments, civil society, and academics. As we advance our efforts, we focus on 5 key areas:

Package Design
P&G has been focused on optimizing the design of our packaging for over a decade:
  • Between 2010 -2020 we reduced packaging per consumer use by over 12% - resulting in a material avoidance of over 200,000 metric tons
  • Between 2015 – 2020 we doubled our use of recycled resin in our packaging (26,000 to 52,800 metric tons)
P&G is targeting to hit the following goals no later than 2030:
  • 100% Recyclable or Reusable Packaging
  • 50% reduction in virgin petroleum plastic resin in our packaging.
Access to Collection

Consumers need to have access to collection and recovery systems to enable greater circularity of plastic packaging. In regions of the world that lack adequate waste management systems, we seek to play a role in helping catalyze the development of needed waste management infrastructure. We do this by partnering with others to demonstrate technically and economically feasible approaches that can be scaled by governments, development finance institutions and private equity investment. Key efforts we are supporting include:

  • The Alliance to End Plastic Waste: The AEPW is supported by over 50 companies who have committed to invest at least $1.5 billion by 2023 in solutions that stop plastic leakage to the environment.
  • Circulate Capital Ocean Fund: $100mm investment fund focused on infrastructure needed in SE Asia where lack of capital for waste infrastructure has been a barrier to stopping plastic leakage.
Consumer Participation

Consumer participation is a critical part of driving increased circularity of plastic packaging and we believe we have a role to play in inspiring consumers to recycle. One way we do that is though clear labeling of packaging. In the U.S. and Canada, we have been supporting the use of the How 2 Recycle Label which is a cross-industry platform to provide consumers consistent information on recyclability of packaging.

Separation & Recovery Technology

P&G believes there is a significant opportunity for innovation in plastic separation and recovery technology that can improve both the quantity and quality of recovered plastic. By partnering with others, we believe we can play a role in helping catalyze innovation that will drive greater capability in the plastics recycling industry. Key partnerships and efforts include:

End Markets

Ensuring robust end markets for recycled materials is a critical component of driving circular systems for plastics. The primary role we play in supporting end markets is using recycled materials in our plastic packaging. Between 2015 – 2020 we doubled our use of recycled resin in plastic packaging (26,000 to 52,800 tons) and will increase our use of recycled resin as a key strategy in achieving our goal to reduce our use of virgin petroleum plastic by 50%.

Goals

P&G has two key 2030 packaging design goals:

100% of our packaging will be recyclable or reusable:

  • The scope of this goal includes consumer packaging only, as this is what we believe is most meaningful to drive change in our industry. Shippers and boxes that transport products to our retailers, which are predominantly widely collected and recycled cardboard corrugate, are not included in our tracking. On this basis, our percentage of recyclable or reusable consumer packaging is currently about 55%.
  • Flexible films are a key material class for P&G consumer packaging as they enable significant source reduction but today have limited recyclability. We are working to improve the recyclability of these films by moving to recyclable formats when feasible and partnering with several groups to increase curbside collection of flexible films.
  • We are also advancing efforts on reusable packaging. Examples include LOOP, Refillable Hair Care Bottles, and Olay Whips Refill.

Reduce our use of virgin petroleum plastic in our consumer packaging by 50%:

  • We plan to achieve this goal by continuing to lightweight packaging, increasing our use of recycled content, encouraging consumer conversion to more efficient product forms and when appropriate, using alternatives to plastic.
  • As of June 30, 2020, we had reduced our use of virgin petroleum plastic by 4% vs. our 2017 baseline.

Data & Metrics

Fiscal Year 19/20 Data

  • Tons of plastic packaging: 705,000 metric tons
  • Tons of recycled plastic resin: 52,800 metric tons
  • Percent of total resin used that was recycled: 7.5%

Resin used in our packaging in FY19/20

Resin Type Percentage
PE 46%
PET 20%
PP 23%
Other 11%

PARTNERSHIPS and PROGRAMS

Collaborating with others to help drive impacts at scale is a key part of our overall strategy. Examples of partnerships and programs we support include:

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste

The AEPW is supported by over 50 companies who have committed to invest at least $1.5 billion by 2023 in solutions that stop plastic leakage to the environment.

Holy Grail 2.0

More than 85 companies and organizations from the complete packaging value chain have joined forces with the ambitious goal to assess whether a pioneering digital technology can enable better sorting and higher-quality recycling rates for packaging.

ReSource: Plastic

Under the leadership of WWF, ReSource works with its member companies to maximize, measure, and multiply their impacts on addressing plastic waste.

Circulate Capital Ocean Fund

$100mm investment fund focused on infrastructure needed in SE Asia where lack of capital for waste infrastructure has been a barrier to stopping plastic leakage.

The Recycling Partnership: Film & Flexibles Coalition

The Recycling Partnership: Polypropylene Recycling Coalition

Bioplastics Feedstock Alliance

BFA works to provide thought leadership on the responsible sourcing of bioplastics.

P&G Perspectives

Compostable Packaging

  • P&G does not include compostable or biodegradable packaging in our goals. We understand that there are issues with consumer access to facilities that can properly treat compostable packaging and that these materials are potentially contaminants to the established recycling streams for plastics. Our objective is to help enable a circular economy through reuse and recycling of packaging.
  • Definition of “recyclable”

  • P&G considers packaging to be recyclable if there is at-scale collection, sorting, processing, and end markets for the material and format in at least one geography. We do not consider waste to energy and conversion to fuels as suitable end markets to satisfy this definition.
  • Additional References

    Please click here for a one-page pdf document that summarizes some of our key efforts through 2020.

    View Key Efforts PDF

    P&G also works to ensure that 100% of our paper packaging is either recycled content or 3rd party certified virgin fiber.

    You can read more about these efforts here.