Hellmann’s is leading the way in sustainability with its new plastic practices

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  • ‘It makes our lives so much easier when the popular choice becomes the responsible choice,’ says MC Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot

    Hellmann’s is a household name, with its iconic mayonnaise perhaps being the most popular fridge staple across the UK. The brand isn’t getting comfortable however, instead pushing itself to adapt to its increasingly green customers and becoming an industry leader in better plastic practices.

    Hellmann’s was therefore the obvious choice to join Marie Claire UK in partnership for our first ever sustainability festival last month.

    Hosted by the Marie Claire team, the virtual event encouraged viewers to #startsomewhere, featuring leading voices and brands within the global sustainability movement.

    ‘Small collective actions can become very powerful global movements,’ explained Marie Claire’s Chief Purpose & Sustainability Advisor Sara Vaughan in her opening speech, before quoting David Attenborough:

    “We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we’re doing to the planet and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we all have a responsibility to care for our planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth now depends on us.”

    ‘Our aim is not to frighten you,’ Sara continued. ‘Our aim is to harness our collective power and to inspire you to start somewhere.’

    We can all adapt and create lasting behavioural change that will positively impact our planet, even well-established century-old brands. This is something that Hellmann’s has proven time and time again, evolving with its customers and remaining at the forefront of change since 1913.

    Unveiling its new practices to tackle plastic waste this week, Hellmann’s announced an official switch to 100% recycled plastic bottles.

    The brand’s entire ‘squeezy’ range – Hellmann’s Light, Lighter than Light, Vegan and flavoured mayos – will now be packaged in 100% recycled plastic bottles, made from the highest quality food-grade plastic. And there are plans for the rest of the range to make the switch to recycled plastic by the end of 2022 – a pledge that will save around 1,480 tonnes of virgin plastic every year in the UK, the equivalent of more than 116 double decker buses.

    ‘Using recycled plastic in new products and packaging is the whole point of recycling and is a critical step in tackling plastic waste’, explained Helen Bird, Strategic Engagement Manager at sustainability charity WRAP. ‘It also takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic compared with new (virgin) plastic so announcements such as this made by Hellmann’s are very much welcomed.’

    The announcement marks a huge step towards Unilever’s aim to halve its global virgin plastic use by 2025. And prompted by research conducted by Hellmann’s, it’s a revealing reflection of a change in attitude by UK customers.

    84% of people surveyed admitted that being at home more has highlighted their household plastic waste and as a result 78% are taking action to be more eco-friendly.

    More than ever, people are wanting to make sustainable choices and brands like Hellmann’s are responding to their customers’ needs.

    This is something that plant-based chef Bettina Campolucci-Bordi and MC Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot opened up about in their zero food waste session, in partnership with Hellmann’s, during MC’s Sustainability Festival. Speaking about the brand, they concluded: ‘It makes our lives so much easier when the popular choice becomes the responsible choice’.

    But while the research by Hellmann’s reveals an awareness in sustainability and an effort to reduce household waste, it also highlights a barrier, with 76% of Brits claiming a lack of understanding around the symbols on their packaging, and a need for help when going greener.

    As a result, Hellmann’s bottles will now feature clear recycling labels, and the brand isn’t stopping there, teaming up with sustainability charity WRAP and responding to the public’s desire for help going greener, with some simple waste reducing tips and sustainable swaps:

    • Where possible, check packaging and labels when buying plastic bottles, and always opt for recycled plastic options where these are available
    • Empty and rinse out your bottles before putting them in the recycling (almost one fifth of people don’t regularly do this, which can impact the recyclability of the bottle)
    • Swap to reusable, closable containers or beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap when storing your food in the fridge
    • Reuse your mayonnaise squeezy bottle for a homemade vinaigrette (Hellmann’s has the perfect recipe to help make the most from the last little bits of mayo from the bottle, which you can watch on YouTube)

    ‘At Hellmann’s, we believe food is too good to be wasted and now we’re helping reduce plastic waste too,’ explained Andre Burger, Vice President, Foods & Refreshment at Unilever UK & Ireland. ‘With our new 100% recycled plastic bottles, which are also fully recyclable, Hellmann’s is helping to make mealtimes more sustainable.

    ‘We’re proud that Hellmann’s mayonnaise is one of the first Unilever food brands in the UK to have bottles made from 100% recycled plastic – a dollop or squeeze of our mayonnaise has never been so sustainable! It’s the small daily choices we can make that add up to make a big difference.’

    The brand’s announcement, research and advice forms part of Hellmann’s wider mission to help people to reduce plastic and food waste, helping its customers make choices that help the planet.

    We can all start somewhere to play our part and make positive change, and now that can be as simple as investing in a squeezy bottle of Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

    Visit the Hellmann’s website for more information on its new plastic policies.

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