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Tub of vanilla Carte D’Or ice cream on table and scoop on top of chocolate dessert.

We’re introducing paper tubs for our Carte D’Or ice cream

We have switched our entire range of Carte D’Or in the UK from plastic packs to responsibly sourced, recyclable paper tubs and lids in a move that will save over 900 tons of virgin plastic every year.

In the UK, we’re changing the tubs and lids across our entire range of Carte D’Or ice cream from plastic to responsibly sourced, recyclable paper.

The move will see the brand use 93% less plastic per pack (compared to our previous Carte D’Or packaging) and is set to save over 900 tons of virgin plastic in the UK annually.1 That’s a weight equivalent to almost five Boeing 747s.

The paper we’re using comes from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources and is PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified. Both tub and lid can be put into the normal household paper recycling stream.

According to research company Kantar, plastic waste is the No.1 environmental concern for British shoppers,2 so the switch will appeal to the growing number of consumers seeking more sustainable products.

“For over 40 years, Carte D’Or has been committed to crafting delicious desserts made with some of the finest quality ingredients, which we strive to source in a sustainable way,” says Horacio Cal, Ice Cream Marketing Director for Unilever in the UK and Ireland. “Now, we’re proud to have made this move to paper tubs, helping shoppers to reduce their plastic packaging footprint at home.”

We launched the new packs at the end of January this year and we’re currently rolling them out across the country.

Why only 93%?

You might be asking yourself why we haven’t switched to paper completely. We still need to use some plastic in our packs to ensure our ice cream stays fresh, the taste and quality aren’t affected, and the packs remain durable and sturdy when shoppers take them home. The plastic we use on the inner layer of our tub and lid does not affect its ability to be recycled at home.

We also need to use a plastic seal to ensure the ice cream stays fresh and secure in the pack. At present this seal is non-recyclable, but we have a team of experts working on the transition to a fully recyclable solution.

We will use learnings and insights from this development and the roll-out of these new packs to further inform our company-wide efforts to reduce plastic packaging globally.

Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond our packaging

Since 2016, Wall’s – the umbrella brand for Carte D’Or – has been working with Save the Children and vanilla supplier Symrise to improve the lives of vanilla farming communities in the SAVA region of Madagascar, ensuring the local communities can build a better future for themselves.

The Vanilla for Change programme has already made a difference to the lives of more than 60,000 people. The project supports 10,000 households, reaching every village within our extended vanilla supply chain in the country. It has also trained and supported nearly 2,000 young people, improving their life skills and career prospects.

Carte D’Or’s switch to paper tubs is the latest step towards our Unilever-wide global plastic targets, which include halving the amount of virgin plastic in our packaging and achieving an absolute reduction of more than 100,000 tonnes in plastic use by 2025.

Read more about this move and about the brand’s ingredient origin stories.

Reducing plastic across our ice cream portfolio

We’re working on all sorts of innovations, roll-outs and pilots across our ice cream portfolio to continually reduce the amount of plastic we use. Here are just a few examples.

Magnum

Magnum became the first ice cream brand to use recycled polypropylene (rPP)* in its packaging, and in 2021, over 750 tonnes of virgin plastic were cut, with a further ambition to introduce these fully recyclable tubs across all global markets by 2025. It’s challenging to source mechanically recycled food-grade packaging, so we use an innovative process that transforms plastic waste into a resin with the same characteristics as virgin food-grade resin. This allows us to recycle mixed plastic waste that would otherwise be destined for incineration or landfill.

Read more

*Following a mass balance approach

Swedish Glace

Swedish Glace – which is called Choice in some markets – has done the same as Magnum, changing the packaging across its entire tub range to recycled polypropylene (rPP).* The switch, which we started in October 2021, makes it the first dairy-free ice cream brand to use this material and the new pioneering recycling technology. Moving to recycled instead of virgin plastic means that we’ll save 200 tons of virgin plastic annually in UK and the Nordics.

Read more

*Following a mass balance approach

Ben & Jerry’s

In Europe, we made our Ben & Jerry’s paperboard ice cream containers more sustainable using a one-sided plant-based polyethylene coating. Although it is chemically identical to the petroleum-based plastic in our old coating, this change will reduce the amount of plastic we use by about 44 tons per year. And it means that our containers in Europe are more widely recyclable. Also, as from early 2019, we stopped offering plastic straws and spoons in our 600+ Scoop Shops worldwide, avoiding an estimated 40 tons of plastic every year.

Read more

1

Based on full-year volume forecast 2021 for Carte D’Or as at 25.10.21, calculated based on weight of current tub and 93% plastic reduction

2

Kantar Europanel, ‘Who Cares, Who Does 2020’, Great Britain