As part of our environmental, social and governance (ESG) goal to source packaging materials sustainably, we are focused on increasing the amount of post-consumer recycled (PCR) material in our plastic packaging. We’re already using approximately 2,500 tons of PCR each year, but we plan to triple that amount by 2025.
One of the best things we can do to help tackle the many challenges of packaging waste is to use more recycled content in our products. When we do our part to increase demand for PCR, the material becomes more valuable in a way that encourages recycling and helps prevent it from ending up in a landfill or potentially polluting the environment.
There is a global movement under way by companies that recognize they must be part of the solution, and they are leaning in with major commitments to increase PCR demand. Unfortunately, the amount of available recycled plastic is insufficient to meet the current demand. This is due to the limited capacity within our society to collect, sort, clean and reprocess used packaging. The current recycling rate for plastics in the United States is only 9%, which is among the lowest in the world. By comparison, the European Union is much farther along on their recycling development journey with a rate of about 40%.
Our commitment to increase recycled content will help drive new investment in recycling infrastructure capacity to support the much-needed rate increase. There’s also a need for advanced technology development to improve process efficiency and cleaning, which will be essential for ensuring a reliable supply of cost-effective, high quality PCR material.
And there are many more benefits to using recycled plastics. Pound for pound, significantly less resources are needed to produce recycled material compared to new virgin plastic typically created from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. This translates to major savings in energy and water consumption, along with a big reduction in emissions.
Maximizing recycled content in our packaging is one example of our focus on product stewardship and how we can GroMoreGood in ways that are good for the earth.
Learn more about other packaging and product stewardship initiatives and read our 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report.