InterviewCorrected: US Procter & Gamble to stop using PVC in packaging

29 September 2010 22:38  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined "US Procter & Gamble to stop using PVC in packaging" dated 29 September 2010, please read in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th paragraphs ... Sauers ... instead of ... Lauers .... A corrected story follows.

By Doris de Guzman

NEW YORK (ICIS)--US consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G) plans to eliminate the remaining polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from its product packaging in the next few years, as part of its new 2020 sustainability goals, a company executive said on Wednesday.

For more than 10 years, P&G has been reducing its use of PVC, and the plastic now represents less than 1.5% of the company’s total plastic packaging, said Len Sauers, vice president of global sustainability at P&G. Sauers did not disclose how much plastic packaging the company uses.

“We want to get out of PVC mainly because it’s not a material that’s largely recycled,” Sauers said.

Sauers said they are now using standard packaging materials such as no 1 and no 2 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics that are recyclable.

“Our goal is to decrease packaging waste and make all of our packaging materials and containers recyclable,” he said.

Another part of the company’s new sustainability goals is to replace 25% of its petrochemical-based feedstock with renewable-based chemicals by 2020.

One example that Sauers noted is the use of sugarcane-based polyethylene (PE) produced by Brazilian plastic company Braskem for packaging in selected P&G brands such as Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl and Max Factor products.

P&G expects to start using the sugarcane-based PE next year. Sauers said there will no special labels or branding in their products to indicate the use of Braskem’s green PE.

He also acknowledged the premiums attached to the sugarcane-based plastic. “We expect those premiums to be reduced and go away as more and more of the plastics are being used and scale is created,” said Sauers.

P&G is also currently working with industrial biotechnology companies such as US-based LS9 and Amyris, which are both working on fermentation-based renewable fuels and chemicals development.

P&G formed a partnership with LS9 in May 2009 and with Amyris in June 2010. Sauers did not disclose any further details on their collaboration with both companies.

For more on PVC and PET visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Doris de Guzman
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