Unilever Australia has teamed up with environmental organisation Planet Ark to raise awareness of aerosol recycling, as part of National Recycling Week.
The activity aims to dispel myths about the recyclability of aerosol cans and increase the recycling rates of Unilever’s Rexona, Dove and Lynx deodorants. Unilever’s leading deodorant brand, Rexona, is sponsoring the week long initiative, which highlights the environmental benefits of re-use and recycling programs.
The sponsorship forms part of Unilever’s wider sustainability agenda to double the size of its business whilst reducing its environmental impact. One of the company’s key focus areas is a target to halve the waste associated with the disposal of its products and make it easier for consumers to recycle.
Jon McCarthy, marketing director deodorants, said: “Through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we’ve set an ambitious goal to halve the environmental footprint of our Rexona, Dove and Lynx deodorants. Providing recycling information on-pack and educating people to recycle their empty deodorant cans is an important part of working towards this goal and ensuring re-useable materials such as aluminium don’t end up in landfill.”
The sponsorship enables Unilever to build further knowledge on how Australian’s use and dispose of its products and address some of the barriers that up until now have resulted in fairly low recycling rates for aerosol products.
“We were surprised to learn that more than half of Australian’s don’t think aerosols can be recycled. As part of sponsoring this year’s National Recycling Week we’re also running an education campaign through print, outdoor and social media to ensure people know it’s perfectly safe to recycle aerosols in their normal household bins – we want to encourage everyone to think about how the small actions they take can add up to a big difference for our planet,” said McCarthy.
Research by Planet Ark found that more than half of people (54%) do not currently recycle their aerosol cans. One of the top explanations given for not recycling aerosols was a mistaken belief that they will explode in the recycling, as well as a general lack of awareness that empty aerosol cans can be placed in the regular kerbside recycling bins.
“It’s surprising that more than half of Australians wrongly believe that aerosol cans can’t be recycled,” said Planet Ark’s head of campaigns, Brad Gray. “In fact, they are made from recyclable steel or aluminium. Many people report having been told to keep aerosol cans out of the recycling which is a hangover from the past. Once they are empty it is perfectly safe to put them in the recycling,” said Gray.
63% of the respondents mentioned that they look out for a recycling symbol on the item to know if it can be recycled and almost half of them claim they follow their council’s direction. Knowing that aerosols can be recycled, 80% of people state that they would now recycle them.
As part of National Recycling Week Unilever will be running a nationwide advertising campaign across print, outdoor and digital to help raise awareness of the recycling message as well as working with local councils to ensure the efficient processing of aerosols.
Unilever is increasing the number of products that carry the recycling logo and directions to recycle on pack; with all Rexona, Lynx and Dove products set to feature recycling information by the end of March 2015.