Microplastics

We are committed to ensuring that our consumer products do not cause any microplastics to enter the environment.

We are committed to ensuring that our consumer products do not cause any microplastics to enter the environment. We understand microplastics to refer to solid, insoluble plastic particles that are five millimeters or smaller and are not biodegradable. These can enter rivers and oceans via wastewater and accumulate there permanently.

Several years ago, we stopped using microbeads in cosmetics, detergents and cleaning products, which were used as exfoliating or abrasive particles in certain products. In addition, we have been dealing more closely with solid synthetic plastics. These solid synthetic plastics are used as opacifiers in consumer products to give them a creamy white appearance.

In our cosmetic products, the switch to opacifiers that have a natural origin or are biodegradable was nearly completed in spring 2021. The last remaining cosmetic products will be switched by the end of the first quarter of 2022. For our other consumer products, we replaced opacifiers with poor biodegradability with a newly developed opacifier with improved biodegradability in the second quarter of 2021. We continue to pursue the technical challenge of using only natural or biodegradable opacifiers and eliminating solid synthetic plastics as soon as a suitable alternative is available for this purpose. Certain types of perfume encapsulation that are also under discussion because they are considered as microplastics. These encapsulated perfume oils are used in fabric softeners and certain detergents to create long-lasting fragrances with less perfume than would otherwise be required. We are already working together with our technology partners to replace all synthetic perfume encapsulations with biodegradable materials by the end of 2022 at the latest.

We have already achieved success in using soluble, biodegradable materials for encapsulation in other areas, for example, in the shells of our pre-dosed liquid detergent capsules and dishwasher detergent tabs, which consist of soluble polyvinyl alcohol foil.

To prevent improper disposal of our plastic product packaging from contributing to ocean pollution, we are striving for a circular economy for plastics. We will continue to increase the recyclability of our packaging, while also increasing the percentage of recycled material in our packaging.