Colgate-Palmolive Commits to Recyclable Packaging
Colgate-Palmolive recently committed to making 100 percent of its packaging fully recyclable for three out of four product categories by 2020. The three categories set to go recyclable are home, pet and personal care. Colgate has also committed to developing a completely recyclable toothpaste tube or package. In addition, the company agreed to increase the average recycled content of its packaging from 40 percent to 50 percent, and reduce or eliminate the use of PVC — a hard-to-recycle resin — in packaging.
As You Sow (AYS) filed a shareholder resolution with Colgate in 2012, asking the company to explore the feasibility of adopting an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)strategy for post-consumer packaging. For those who aren’t familiar, an EPR is a corporate and public policy that shifts responsibility for collecting and recycling from consumers and governments to producers. Canada and several European countries require companies to be responsible for post-consumer packaging by paying some or all of the cots for collection and recycling. Here in the U.S., 24 states have EPR laws on the books that mandate producer responsibility for collecting and recycling consumer electronics.
AYS withdrew the proposal after Colgate agreed to engage in dialogue. In doing so, Colgate became the first company to engage in dialogue with AYS to commit to setting goals for developing recyclable packaging. Colgate has also agreed to continue to engage in dialogue with As You Sow about the effectiveness of EPR for packaging systems.
"We congratulate Colgate-Palmolive on its leadership in phasing out unrecyclable packaging," said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow. "Huge amounts of embedded value and energy are being buried in landfills. These packages should be designed to be recycled, reducing the use of virgin natural resources and mitigating emissions that contribute to climate change."
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Colgate toothpaste image via Shutterstock.