Let’s talk about plastic

How we’re tackling the issue of plastic pollution

Among the various global environmental issues that require swift and positive action, plastic pollution is one of the most urgent. At AkzoNobel, we take our responsibility in this area extremely seriously. 

As an industry leader in sustainability, we’re acutely aware of the important issues and concerns around plastic pollution. That’s why we’re stepping up our efforts to rethink plastic packaging so it stays within a circular economy and out of the environment.

It’s all part of our “People. Planet. Paint.” approach to sustainability – which makes clear our intention to have zero non-reusable waste by 2030. We also have a very specific aim with regard to the use of plastic – by 2025, all plastic packaging used by our Decorative Paints Europe business will contain at least 50% recycled content.

“Reduction of our packaging footprint is the lead driver around many of our packaging decisions,” explains Paul van Boven, Marketing Director Europe and Africa. “Consumers expect well-known brands to limit their material use and we’re fully committed to minimizing the amount of plastic we use.”

The simple fact is that consumers are now demanding a lot more from leading brands. They expect products to do more and offer more sustainability benefits. It’s something we were well prepared for, because sustainability has long been embedded in the way we do business. So we’ve been introducing new functionality and making our portfolio more eco-friendly for a considerable period of time.

What we’re doing now is going even further – by taking a critical look at packaging, production processes and our ways of working to cut out as many waste streams as possible as we strive to become a zero waste company. We’re on the right track, having already reduced our waste by 40% in the last eight years. We believe that by doing more, we can make a bigger contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goal on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SDG 12) 

“We aim to design and manufacture the best quality products in the most sustainable way,” continues Van Boven. “Where we can, we reduce the overall amount of packaging needed, as well as having packaging that’s made using recycled materials. We’ve also started using alternatives such as metal and bio-based materials in some of our packaging.”

A good example of the progress being made is the Acomix pack which our Decorative Paints business in Sweden has started to use. It’s made of 100% recycled plastic and is completely recyclable.

“Ultimately, it’s all about looking carefully at our packaging waste to ensure that any release of plastics into the environment is prevented,” adds Van Boven. “So we’re firmly focused on reducing our environmental impact while providing quality products that have a sustainability benefit for our customers.”

You can read more about our sustainability ambitions and “People. Planet. Paint.” approach here.