Major brands address waste through product innovation

Millennials are making efforts to spend more selectively and waste less, and they’re taking interest in how companies deal with their own waste as well. Major brands are responding by launching initiatives that creatively address waste, moving well beyond recycling programs to forward-thinking product innovation.


L'Oréal has pledged that all of its new or renovated products will have an improved environmental or social profile by the year 2020, and 82% already showed such an improvement. The company also piloted a proprietary eco-design tool to assess the environmental impact of each product's life cycle. To date, L'Oreal has screened more than 40,000 formulas, gaining insights about the environmental profile of each type of formula while maintaining the product efficacy. An example of sustainable innovation in the U.S. is the development of Biolage R.A.W., which recently expanded its line.


For a limited run in France this summer, P&G’s Head & Shoulders brand is producing the world’s first recyclable shampoo bottle made from up to 25% recycled beach plastic. Additionally, P&G announced that in Europe by end of 2018 more than half a billion bottles per year will include up to 25% post-consumer recycled plastic. This represents more than 90% of all the hair care bottles sold in Europe across P&G’s hair care portfolio of flagship brands like Pantene and Head & Shoulders. The brand has also been addressing water waste through sustainability initiatives and product innovation.


As part of its Sustainable Living plan, Unilever recently unveiled its new technology to address the billions of plastic sachets produced by a wide range of industries, including its own. The technology, called CreaSolv Process, has been developed with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Germany and is inspired by an innovation used to recycle TV sets. During the process, the plastic is recovered from the sachet and is then used to create new sachets for Unilever products, creating a full circular economy approach.