RB improves plastic circularity with Veolia

The global leader in household cleaning products is looking to reduce its environmental footprint. The company has partnered with Veolia to increase the use of recycled plastic in its packaging and improve recyclability.

The global leader in household cleaning products - also present in pharmaceutical products - RB has committed to using 100% reusable or recyclable plastic packaging made of at least 25% recycled materials by 2025. This translates into innovations in both the materials used in packaging and its design. For example, the firm has not only developed metal-free spray triggers but also decided to phase out carbon black in its bottles, which goes undetected by optical sorting machines and makes the plastic non-recyclable.

A member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative like Veolia, the Anglo-Dutch company has also formed partnerships to improve plastic circularity.
One of these partnerships was concluded with Veolia. For the last two years, the two companies have been working together to increase the use of post-consumer recycled plastic in RB product packaging and improve recyclability.
The new packaging for Finish Quantum dishwasher tablets is the first product resulting from their partnership; a concrete example of sustainable innovation brought to market. It contains 30% recycled polypropylene and does not incorporate any masking pigments or additives, which explains its grey color - somewhat different from the blue and green usually associated with this type of packaging.

Esthetic and technical requirements

As RB explains on its website, using recycled polypropylene was a challenge because of its color and odor - and because demand is lower than for recycled PET and polyethylene - supply is more problematic.
Veolia helped the manufacturer to overcome these obstacles, both by developing a tailor-made material that meets strict esthetic and technical requirements and by guaranteeing the supply.

A team of experts from both groups is also working to improve waste collection and consumer sorting behavior. This includes, for example, creating better labelling for plastic packaging, providing the information needed to facilitate and encourage household recycling. To facilitate sorting and improve recycling, RB has launched an experiment in Lyon, with the start-up Yoyo, to collect HDPE packaging.

In 2019, RB managed to use 48% reusable or recyclable plastic packaging, made up of 3% recycled material. And that's just the beginning. By working hand in hand with its strategic suppliers, and by combining its know-how with the expertise of specialist players such as Veolia, the global leader in household cleaning products is gradually moving towards achieving its goals.