Sunlight cleans up its act with recycled and recyclable bottle launch

Sunlight cleans up its act with recycled and recyclable bottle launch

April 3, 2019
Marcia González

Unilever’s Sunlight washing-up brand makes green switch to cleaner plastics

South African washing-up liquid brand Sunlight has unveiled 100% recycled and recyclable bottles. The switch on its 750ml and 400ml bottles marks a key milestone for this region’s household brand, as well as Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 speaker Unilever’s ambition to reduce its overall environmental impact by half by 2030.

According to association Plastics South Africa, in 2016 the country accumulated more than 1.14 million tonnes of plastic waste, of which less than half was recycled. And with its volume of products in the market, Unilever felt a duty to act. In 2010, the ‘Unilever Sustainable Living Plan’ was launched to accelerate efforts towards a more circular economy. In 2017, it committed to ensuring that 100% of plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2030.

By 2011, partnering with Extrupet, Serioplast and PETCO (the PET Plastic Recycling Company), the team began researching how to achieve their now 100% recycled 750ml and 400ml bottle packaging.

“The benefits of a project like this are substantial,” said Cheri Scholtz, PETCO CEO. “They’re environmentally beneficial, they’re socially beneficial and, of course, they economically beneficial.”

Beyond reducing its own footprint, the dishwashing liquid aims to inspire and challenge consumers to play their part and adopt more sustainable habits by recycling and using more sustainability-focussed brands, such as Sunlight.

Cape Town joined the cause on Global Recycling Day (18 March 2019), when the view through the yellow frame at the V&A Waterfront was transformed into a plastic waste image of Table Mountain. According to Sunlight, the effect stopped locals and tourists in their tracks, forcing them to think twice about the impact of their behaviors on our natural wonders. The visual tactic aimed to act as an awareness tool, while also driving the message, ‘Play your part. Recycle your Plastic’.

The brand is now challenging the public to initiate change with its pledge, ‘#SunlightPlayYourPart’, which aims to steer behavior towards the circular economy of recycling. A video charting Unilever’s sustainable progress in South Africa can be seen here

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 will take place from Thursday 27 June to Friday 28 June, at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. To register for this highly focused and solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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