Plastic pollution is a global problem with massive environmental impacts. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company, around 11 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year – the equivalent of one dump truck per minute.
These alarming trends are driving the growing demand for action to eliminate plastic waste. Achieving this goal requires a strategy to reduce the use of traditional plastic in products and packaging, improve waste recovery and recycling methods, and develop alternative materials that are designed to be reusable, recyclable and biodegradable.
Kimberly-Clark has pledged to reduce the use of new fossil fuel-based plastics by 50% by the end of the decade. The company is working internally and with its partners to move to more sustainable materials and processes. In 2025, the company intends to make 100% of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable. It has also set a target of 75% of the material in its products to be biodegradable or recovered and recycled by 2030.
The union between governments, NGOs, consumers and companies plays a fundamental role in promoting change. For that reason, K-C has partnered with biotechnology companies such as RWDC to develop state-of-the-art materials to replace traditional petroleum-based plastics.
The collaboration will provide Kimberly-Clark with RWDC’s polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) source material, SolonTM, to develop compostable and sea degradable resins. Should products or packaging made with PHA find their way into the environment, they will biodegrade in soil, freshwater and marine environments, preventing persistent plastics from building up in the environment.
In addition, Kimberly-Clark joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2020. The multi-stakeholder knowledge-sharing forum unites leading consumer goods companies with NGOs and academic leaders who are exploring biobased alternatives to traditional plastic.
Over the past year, the BFA and its members have made significant progress in advancing the role of bio-based and biodegradable plastic in combating global plastic pollution.
Kimberly-Clark’s participation in the BFA builds on its membership in ReSource: Plastic, WWF’s activation center to help companies double recycling rates, reduce unnecessary plastic, and shift to sustainable sources for plastics from need.
These initiatives reinforce its commitment to innovation and waste reduction.