Head & Shoulders wins UN award for first beach plastic shampoo bottle

Head & Shoulders, the world’s biggest shampoo brand, has received a UN Climate Change award for the first commercially produced shampoo bottle made using beach plastic.

The shampoo brand received the award yesterday (12 October) at the UN’s ‘Momentum for Change’ Solutions to Climate Change Awards, which highlighted 19 of the most ground-breaking yet practicable examples of companies and individuals combating climate change around the world.

The Head & Shoulders bottle, made from 25 per cent high-density polyethylene found on beaches, was launched in June 2017 by its manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble, which partnered with US recycling company TerraCycle and the French waste management company SUEZ.

Head & Shoulders wins UN award for first beach plastic shampoo bottle
Volunteers participating in Head & Shoulders' beach waste collection

The innovative collaboration - made possible with the work of thousands of volunteers organised by TerraCycle - helps clean up beaches, in a bid to stymie the flow of the some 12 million tonnes of plastic entering the marine environment every year, as well as create a recyclable product.

The production process also emits 60 per cent less CO2 than the standard shampoo bottle made from using virgin plastic and Proctor & Gamble has also announced that by the end of 2018 more than half a billion bottles will include up to 25 per cent recycled plastic.

The UN website lauded the efforts, saying it was the ‘largest solution dealing with ocean plastic in teams of volume and percentage.’

‘The beach plastic program is scalable and replicable and TerraCycle's collection process can be applied to the many shorelines anywhere in the world. The main prerequisite is that the coastlines are accessible by boat or truck to be able to ship the recovered plastic to the sorting facilities.’

Commenting on the award, Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, said: “I am very excited to receive this award and partner with the world’s number one shampoo brand Hand & Shoulders in what is the most significant solution to marine plastic that we have ever seen.

“Plastic waste is a monumental global issue that needs to be addressed with urgency. Almost everything in the world is made from plastic and only 2 per cent of the world’s plastic is recycled, with much of it ending up in the waterways and ultimately in the ocean.”

Lisa Jennings, Vice-President of Head & Shoulders and Sustainability Hair Care at Proctor & Gamble, was equally grateful for the award: "We are humbled to receive this award from the United Nations together with our partners TerraCycle and SUEZ.  It encourages us to expand this pilot further and to continue the journey of innovating on circular economy solutions.

“The launch of the world’s first recyclable shampoo bottle made with beach plastic shines a light on scalable solutions to diverting waste from landfill and beaches. We are confident this project will continue inspiring other brands and industries to find solutions to the issue of plastic waste.”

Meanwhile, Jean-Marc Boursier, SUEZ Group Senior Executive Vice-President, in charge of the Recycling & Recovery Europe Division, added: “As a leader for the recovery of waste into high quality Secondary Raw Material and green energy, SUEZ aims to protect the environment by eliminating the idea of residual waste.

“The Head & Shoulders beach bottle is a landmark solution that prevents 60 per cent of CO2 emissions from being emitted compared to using virgin HDPE and uses 85 per cent less fossil fuel energy. We are honoured to receive this award with our partners TerraCycle and Head & Shoulders.”