Proctor and Gamble: making empty promises about environmental changes?

Proctor & Gamble (P&G), the company that owns brands like Olay, Charmin Dawn, Febreze, and Always (maxi pads), announced that they will try selling some of their skincare products in refillable packaging in some U.S. and U.K. stores.

Though the refill concept is just a trial, P&G says they will sell a refill package that contains a jar, moisturizer, and a refill pod and and offer refills through online services like LOOP.

If something about that didn’t sound right, let’s look into it a bit closer. It always seems shifty when a company says they want to produce less plastic by selling you a product or service that requires you to buy more plastic. Can we just use our own containers? Do we specifically have to buy that set to refill the product?

So, do we have to get a new refill pod each time? Or can we reuse the same one? More importantly, what are these things made of? According to P&G they are made out of polypropylene (PP), which an increasing number of recycling centers are refusing to process.

Interestingly, in 2017, P&G partnered with PureCycle Technologies, and began constructing a plant in Ohio designed to recycle polypropylene. According to Transparency Market Research, the global market for polypropylene was valued at over $80 billion that year and expected to hit $133.3 billion in the next four years.

It’s concerning to think that giant corporations like this are making such bold statements without much follow through. Or worse, with ulterior motives for financial gain using the guise of sustainability to profit. Just this morning, protestors interrupted P&G’s annual shareholders meeting in Cincinnati, accusing the corporation of clear-cutting ancient trees from the Canadian boreal forest for their Charmin toilet paper brand.

Sources: P&G, Plastic News, Recycling Today, TMR

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