Unilever switches capsule container to cardboard

Consumer goods company Unilever is to package its new laundry capsules in cardboard, which can be recycled at the kerbside.

The newly designed capsule was introduced by Unilever’s laundry brand Dirt Is Good, which is known as Persil in the UK and Skip, OMO and Surf Excel elsewhere. The company said they are made to work in lower temperature washes.

While the container for laundry capsules is usually plastic, the company says the new ‘plastic-free’ cardboard container has been designed to cope with any leakages, while still having child lock capabilities.

Unilever has switched its capsule packaging from plastic to cardboard

The company says the switch will prevent 6,000 tonnes of plastic entering the waste stream annually. The formula is said to “contain biodegradable active ingredients that are 65% derived from plant sources”.

When asked by letsrecycle.com, the company said the capsule is specially designed to lock out moisture and prevent the capsules from sticking together while the outer packaging can be recycled at the kerbside.

The company added that the box is made from 50% recycled cardboard.


Dr Keith Rutherford, head of global innovation, Unilever Home Care R&D said: “The research, development, and manufacturing skill that is required shouldn’t be underestimated. The new proprietary formulation and child-proof cardboard packaging is the work of so many people. This is our best and most sustainable laundry capsule yet – it is truly industry leading.”

The majority of outter packaging for capsules are made from plastic, which is also recyclable at the kerbside (picture is a a Henkel box, Shutterstock)

The product is to first launch in France in September and expected to roll out in the UK and other European countries in early 2023. It is said to be part of Unilever’s Clean Future strategy, announced in September 2020, which aims to redesign manufacturing and packaging of cleaning and laundry products. According to Unilever, it is supported by a €1bn (£840 million) investment over 10 years.

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