Unilever to seek investors in recycling facility
Unilever Philippines might look for investors to put up a plastic sachet recycling facility in the country, whose output could be re-used as raw materials for manufacturing.
The prospective project in the Philippines will, however, depend on the profitability of a pilot project in Indonesia, which is expected to start operations in the first quarter.
Through the Creasolv technology, the pilot project could convert what would have otherwise been waste products into plastic pellets. Ed Sunico, Unilever Philippines vice president for Sustainable Business and Communications, said the pellets could be used again for manufacturing.
Sunico said this technology could be used by the entire industry, noting that the facility would demand large volume of plastic wastes Unilever alone could not satisfy.
This comes as the Greenpeace Philippines and #breakfreefromplastic movement audit said in September last year that Unilever was one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution in Manila Bay.
Sunico said that company had always been open to the idea of a recycling facility.
Global company Unilever partnered with Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Germany to make the technology. They have been working on it since 2011.
He said Unilever, which produces various brands such as Close Up toothpaste and Clear shampoo, used plastic sachet packaging for most of its products.
“It’s not really a Unilever investment. Our investment is in the technology and the pilot [project]. But in putting up the [local] plant, we hope the industry can take over. We have a selling job to do once the pilot is finished,” he said.
The issue with plastic sachets, he said, was that it was multilayered, since it had both a metal and plastic component. It is difficult to separate the two components in other processes. Using Creasolv, the plastic is separated from metal, becoming “fully recyclable.”
He didn’t say neither the investment required nor the timeline of the local project, noting that it would depend on how the industry would react to the pilot project.
The pilot project in Indonesia is open to any company, not just Unilever. According to the company’s website, Unilever chose Indonesia because the country produces 64 million tons of wastes each year.
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