Sustainability is the most important topic in the plastics industry. Brand owners and plastic packaging manufacturers are eager to reduce the environmental footprint of plastic packaging. Kao has great ambitions in this area. The Japanese personal care manufacturer is introducing rPET bottles for its renowned hair care brand Guhl. These are manufactured by Weener Plastics.

Kao, which has a strong presence in Europe, is famous for its hair care brand Guhl. Earlier this year, Kao relaunched the packaging of Guhl shampoo bottles. These are now made of 50% recycled PET (rPET). According to Kao, this saves more than 770 tons of CO2, over 520,000 liters of water and 180 tons of PET each year. In its Philosophy and Actions on Plastic Packaging, the company states that it strives to reduce the use of plastics in its product packaging.

Relying on WP recycled plastic expertise

Weener Plastics (WP), which has been supplying Guhl bottles for many years, was happy to meet Kao's request for a more environmentally friendly bottle. WP made use of its vast experience in the area of using recycled plastics to manufacture plastic packaging components. The WP Materials Team managed to find the right type of rPET, which meets all of the mechanical and esthetical specifications, including high transparency of the bottle.

"We wanted to use the highest possible percentage of rPET without having to accept inclusions or color distortions," states Daniel Nebe, Team Leader Packaging Development at Kao EURL. Extensive tests delivered excellent results, which convinced Kao to market this new sustainable package. The next step is to start making the Guhl flip-top closure – also produced by WP – from PCR material.

Sustainability strategy

Sustainability, in the broadest sense of the word, is part of WP's corporate strategy. A dedicated Materials Team has been appointed to continuously expand knowledge on post-consumer materials, such as rPET and recycled PP and PE. Extensive tests and research are carried out with standard as well as customized bottles, (spray) caps, dispensing and dosing closures. In addition, WP's development teams and sales force strongly focus on accelerating the use of recycled plastics. In this way, WP can play an active role in the transformation to a circular economy.

09 May 2019