When it comes to in-home recycling habits, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson have found the same thing: Not all packaging is treated equally.

Sustainable Brands
April 25, 2016
By Hannah Furlong

Unilever reports that only 14 percent of Americans are recycling their bathroom bottles, while 56 percent of American households recycle kitchen items. Similarly, a recent consumer survey commissioned by Johnson & Johnson found that 34 percent of ‘regular recyclers’ admit that it never even occurred to them to recycle in the bathroom.

Each company announced they would be reprising, and building upon, behavior change campaigns to encourage families to recycle, with an emphasis on bathroom product packaging.

“When it comes to household recycling, we want people to realize that how they dispose of empty bottles in the bathroom is just as important as how they dispose of empty bottles in the kitchen,” said Julie Zaniewski, Packaging Sustainability Manager at Unilever. “We are inviting consumers to #RethinkRecycling by putting their empty bathroom bottles in the bin just as often as their kitchen empties, because if we each make small changes, we can create a brighter future for all.”

In an effort to rally Americans to reassess their habits related to their empty bath and beauty bottles, “Unilever bottles will take a stand – and take up picket signs – to demand equality in recycling.” The campaign features playful imagery of Unilever bathroom products from brands such as Simple®, Dove® and Suave® with signs to “end bottle bias,” and reminding consumers that they are recyclable, too.

Further, the company is inviting Americans to vote for what recycled plastics can become. By tweeting with the corresponding hashtag, people can vote for Unilever to create coats for kids, school supplies or playgrounds from recycled plastics in partnership with Keep America Beautiful. Influencers will also be promoting the campaign online, led by actress, producer, New York Times Best-Selling author, and Emmy®-nominated co-host of The View, Candace Cameron Bure.

This is the second year in a row that Unilever will be running its “Rinse.Recycle.Reimagine.” program, which began as an extension of its national sponsorship of the “I Want to Be Recycled” public service campaign created by Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council. “I Want to Be Recycled” has attracted more than 3.2 million website visitors since its July 2013 launch. Read more.