Increasing resource scarcity means it is more urgent than ever to be efficient with packaging and to find solutions to deal with ‘post-consumer waste’ - packaging and products thrown away after use by our consumers. We purchase over 2.4 million tonnes of packaging a year and we are determined to reduce the absolute amount of materials we use and to ensure they are reused or recycled.
We are on track to meet our 2020 commitment. Our total footprint from packaging waste to landfill has reduced by 11%. Efficient pack designs and innovative use of materials, as well as the disposal of sauce brands with large waste footprints, have been the main drivers.
We are deploying new technologies to lightweight packaging and cutting-edge techniques to optimise material use across hundreds of different designs. We are also working with others to stimulate recycling infrastructures, particularly for materials which are important to us but which are more difficult to recycle or recover, such as sachets in developing countries or aluminium aerosol sprays. This can take time but is crucial for the long-term.
Likewise, in our own operations, we are making strong progress against our targets. Our manufacturing teams have already exceeded their 2020 target, reducing waste by 66%† per tonne of production since 2008. In 2012 we set a new target for all our sites to achieve zero non-hazardous waste to landfill by 2015. Three quarters of our sites have now achieved this, an increase of more than 50 sites compared to 2012. Since we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we have got much better at sharing best practice across sites and regions and this is accelerating progress. For example, in Latin America, we went from eight sites sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill at the start of 2013, to 33 sites by the end of the year.