Unilever is distributing its Wonder Wash laundry detergent – designed to provide a thorough wash on a 15-minute cycle – in fully recyclable PET bottles containing 35% post-consumer recycled content.

Reportedly, 72% of Unilever’s entire plastic packaging portfolio is already designed for recycling. The Wonder Wash bottles are set to add to this figure, with the company hoping to support the development of necessary waste infrastructure, make use of collected waste, and negate end-of-life incineration, thus lowering emissions.

Utilizing post-consumer recycled content is also expected to help Unilever advance its Sustainable Living Plan – which, by 2020, sought to halve the environmental footprint of its products, including greenhouse gases, water, and waste; ensure 100% of its agricultural raw materials were sustainably sourced; and improve livelihoods throughout its supply chain.

Wonder Wash is a ‘science-backed innovation’ that comes under its Dirt Is Good brand, constituting Persil, OMO, and Skip. Using robotics and AI, Unilever claims to have ‘rebuilt’ a new laundry detergent to align with rising energy costs, less travel-intensive lifestyles following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rise of shorter cycle settings on washing machines.

The detergent apparently outperforms its market competition in malodour and residue removal, freshness, and fabric care. A blend of fast-acting ingredients is said to activate at the beginning of a cycle and clean laundry in minutes, even under challenging washing conditions.

It remains suitable for longer cycles and is expected to create a ‘new category’ of laundry products, with thirty-five patents currently pending. Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has partnered with Dirt Is Good as part of the advertising campaign.

All major retailers in the UK, Ireland, and China will offer Wonder Wash from mid-April. Other markets, including France, will launch the product later this year.

“Until now, laundry detergents have not kept pace with changing consumer behaviours,” said Eduardo Campanella, business group president of Unilever Home care. “By harnessing people’s enthusiasm for short cycles for everyday stains, we’re opening up the potential for a new category of short cycle products within laundry.

“This breakthrough in fast-acting cleaning will come to consumers around the world under Dirt Is Good, one of Unilever’s 30 Power Brands – where we’re really focusing our investment and bringing through bigger and better innovations.

“As part of Unilever Home Care’s Clean Future Strategy, not only is this about delivering an unmissably superior laundry experience, but reducing environmental impact by encouraging the use of shorter, energy-saving cycles. Using over a century in detergent-development, we’ve overcome a real technical challenge to offer outstanding performance even in the shortest timeframe and the difficult washing conditions of the short cycle.”

Last year, Henkel revealed a new bottle for its Pril Limited Edition dishwashing liquid brand. It claimed to contain 100% recycled plastic, with 50% of that figure sourced from the German ‘yellow bag’ collection system.

More recently, Tide’s fibre tile form for its laundry line has been unveiled in FSC-certified recyclable paper packaging; the development aims to replace plastic bottles and reduce the impact of washing cycles on the environment.

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