Why does Henkel use plastic in its packaging?
Plastic is robust and well-suited to protect our products during their transport, storage and use by our customers. They are also the most environmentally-compatible packaging for liquids in most cases. Glass and metal, for instance, are much heavier and therefore require a lot more energy across the board, from their production all the way to transport. The problem does not lie with the packaging material itself, but with the way in which waste is handled. We are working actively on minimizing the amount of plastic in our packaging by developing solutions that meet the needs of our consumers on the one hand, while being sustainable on the other. We achieve this by using as much recycled material as possible and designing our packaging in such a way as to make it easy to recycle.
What does it take to create a well-functioning circular economy?
To reach our packaging goals and support a circular economy, partnerships along the entire value chain are essential. In close collaboration with packaging manufacturers, retailers and waste disposal companies, we have built an international and sector-wide network that allows us to share innovations on a continual basis and drive the development of sustainable packaging as well as strengthen the recycling infrastructure. In addition to our collaboration with Plastic Bank, we are involved in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, which brings together interest groups to rethink the future of plastic and set impulses for a circular economy. Henkel is also a founding member of the global “Alliance to End Plastic Waste”, which aims to develop and implement solutions to reduce and manage plastic waste.
What can consumers, but also other relevant players along the value chain contribute to the development of sustainable packaging?
Consumers can support the circular economy by sorting their trash, because recycling relies on all reusable materials being separated from one another as distinctly as possible. Correct sorting makes the recycling process infinitely easier. We and our partners also need to invest more in high-quality waste sorting and recycling processes. As for policymakers, we would like to see them provide a more consistent regulatory framework at the international level.