P&G Case Study: Plastic-free recyclable packaging for liquid detergents

P&G Case Study: Plastic-free recyclable packaging for liquid detergents

The challenger


The Procter & Gamble company is a multinational consumer goods corporation founded in 1837 by William Procter and James Gamble.


Procter & Gamble Italy, having participated in the PITCCH project, is one of the biggest Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies in the country. The Headquarters is in Rome, and there are also two production plants: one in Pomezia (producing Fabric Care goods) and one in Gattatico (dedicated to Home Care).




P&G launched the challenge “Plastic-free” recyclable packaging for liquid detergents”. The company’s goal was to create an innovative decentralized value chain that makes use of CO2 as feedstock for the production of high-performance biopolymers.


Procter & Gamble’s challenge tackled the critical issue of plastic and they were in search of an SME or a startup that could offer plastic-free recyclable packaging.


Solution Provider


CO2BioClean’s mission is to transform CO2 emissions into biopolymers usable in everyday life. Their USP is CO2 usage by highly innovative technology as a modular solution at the sites of the CO2 producers.


The company won the corporate challenge “Plastic-free” recyclable packaging for liquid detergents” launched by P&G. Their solution consisted of a material formulation with three main building blocks to be realized through compounding extrusion. It is suitable for paper coating machinery, compatible with the paper stream, and is plastics-free.




Solution Proposed


The P&G challenge required the identification of plastic-free packaging that could contain cleaning fluids and was compatible with existing recycling streams. The required packaging had to be able to contain and protect the liquid to prevent spillage. The solution proposed by CO2BioClean consists of a material formulation with three main blocks, to be made through compounding extrusion and suitable for paper coating machines. The challenge for P&G required the development of packaging that promoted material recovery in a circular economy.


CO2BioClean’s proposed solution, based on PHA-based materials, is biodegradable. However, this feature is an advantage as the solution proposed by SME is designed to be compatible with the paper stream.


In total, 8 formulations and compounds were developed, realized and tested against hydrolytic stability. Hydrolytic stability was tested upon exposure to liquid household detergent in tropical conditions for 6 weeks. Moreover, mechanical testing of the materials was executed by an external contractor (i.e., University of Trento). The tested compounds were grouped in three bouts of analysis. For 5 samples, the testing was fully executed; for the remaining 3 compounds, the project didn’t have sufficient time to complete the third bout of analysis for the hydrolysis kinetic analysis and the mechanical testing.




The 6-month project started in June 2021 and ended in December 2021. PITCCH supported the first phase with the intent to facilitate the initiation of longer-lasting Open Innovation collaborations and stimulate the adoption of this approach by companies.


All deliverables and milestones outlined in the project charter were reached in due time. The partners overperformed with respect to the target objectives by fully testing 5 sets of samples (only 3 foreseen in the project charter).


The project has contributed to showing that stability towards hydrolysis in a detergent environment can be improved to a great extent by the formulation of the PHA resins. Two samples have shown good stability to prolonged exposure to machine washing liquid detergent, without deterioration of mechanical properties. Therefore, they are promising candidates for further testing and prototyping.


Surveys conducted at CO2Bioclean and P&G reflected satisfaction with the jointly developed project. The parties involved stated that the collaboration worked smoothly and effectively for both parties. The SME appreciated the brokerage services offered by the consortium.


For CO2Bioclean, the balance of this project was very positive: “The participation in the PITCCH project was a ground-breaking opportunity, which allowed us to expand our network and experience a very positive collaboration with a great reality, such as the one P&G is. The collaboration with P&G was great and we mutually learnt a lot from each other. This brought us at planning for furthering our project in the future and hopefully we will be able to set up many more collaborations with them”.


As for P&G they are happy that “PITCCH gave birth to a fruitful collaboration, helping Co2BioClean and P&G to join forces on the path to sustainable disruption”.


Read here Repsol’s Case Study


Read here Efacec Case Study


Read here Saint Gobain Portugal and Haydale Case Study


Read here Siemens Energy Case Study


To read a summary of all the challenges, download the Booklet


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