Nestlé taking steps to eliminate plastic waste

Monday, 21 January, 2019

Nestlé taking steps to eliminate plastic waste

Nestlé has announced a series of specific actions towards meeting its April 2018 commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or re-usable by 2025, with a particular focus on avoiding plastic waste.

According to Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider, “Our broader vision and action plan outline our commitment and specific approach to addressing the plastics packaging waste issue.

“While we are committed to pursuing recycling options where feasible, we know that 100% recyclability is not enough to successfully tackle the plastics waste crisis. We need to push the boundaries and do more. We are determined to look at every option to solve this complex challenge and embrace multiple solutions that can have an impact now. We believe in the value of recyclable and compostable paper-based materials and biodegradable polymers, in particular where recycling infrastructure does not exist.

“Collective action is vital, which is why we are also engaging consumers, business partners and all of our Nestlé colleagues to play their part.”

Seeking to address the multifaceted issue of plastic pollution — a goal which requires a holistic view and a well-orchestrated effort — Nestlé has announced tangible steps to pioneer alternative materials, shape a waste-free future and drive behaviour change.

Pioneering alternative materials

In December 2018, Nestlé announced the creation of its Institute of Packaging Sciences to evaluate and develop various sustainable packaging materials and to collaborate with industrial partners to develop new packaging materials and solutions.

Between 2020 and 2025, Nestlé will phase out all plastics that are not recyclable or are hard to recycle for all its products worldwide. In doing so, the company is rolling out alternative packaging materials across its global product portfolio and establishing partnerships with cutting-edge packaging specialists:

  • Starting in February 2019, Nestlé will begin to eliminate all plastic straws from its products, using alternative materials like paper as well as innovative designs to reduce littering.
  • Nestlé will also start rolling out paper packaging for Nesquik in the first quarter of 2019 and for the Yes! snack bar in the second half of 2019. Smarties will start rolling out plastic-free packaging in 2019 and Milo will introduce paper-based pouches in 2020.
  • Nestlé Waters will increase the recycled PET content in its bottles to 35% by 2025 at the global level and will reach 50% in the US, with a specific focus on its iconic brand Poland Spring. In addition, Nestlé Waters will increase the recycled PET content for its European brands Acqua Panna, Buxton, Henniez and Levissima to 50% by 2025.
  • The Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences is exploring new paper-based materials and biodegradable/compostable polymers that are also recyclable, among other alternatives. This could become a valuable option in places where recycling infrastructure does not yet exist and will not be available for some time.
  • Nestlé has formed a global partnership with Danimer Scientific to develop a marine biodegradable and recyclable bottle for its water business. Danimer Scientific, based in the US, is a pioneer in creating more sustainable and more natural ways to make plastic products.
  • Nestlé has initiated a collaboration with PureCycle Technologies to produce food-grade recycled polypropylene (PP). PureCycle Technologies is commercialising recycling technologies which can remove colour, odour and contaminants from plastic waste feedstock in order to transform it into virgin-like resin. Polypropylene is a polymer commonly used for packing food in trays, tubs, cups and bottles.

Shaping a waste-free future

As well as delivering on its 2025 commitment, Nestlé has a longer-term ambition to stop plastic leakage into the environment across its global operations. This will help avoid further accumulation of plastics in nature and achieve plastic neutrality.

The company has also become the first food company to partner with Indonesia’s Project STOP — an initiative to prevent the leakage of plastic into the ocean by developing partnerships with cities and governments in Southeast Asia. Project STOP is creating sustainable, circular and low-cost waste systems that capture as much value from waste as possible, supporting the many existing local initiatives and informal waste pickers in Indonesia’s coastal areas. Over the coming months, Nestlé will take the learnings from this project to other countries where it operates in an effort to deliver ‘plastic neutrality’ in those markets.

Driving new behaviour

Aware that addressing the plastic waste challenge requires behaviour change from all of us, Nestlé knows there is no better place to start than from within its own company:

  • All 4200 Nestlé facilities worldwide are committed to eliminating single-use plastic items that cannot be recycled. These items will be replaced by materials that can easily be recycled or re-used, and provide the proper means to collect and handle such materials.
  • Nestlé employees in all locations worldwide and at all levels will dedicate their volunteering days to the removal of litter and participate in clean-up activities on World Ocean Day on 8 June 2019. To lead the way, Nestlé’s executive board and employees at the company’s global headquarters in Switzerland will volunteer to clean the shores of Lake Geneva in May 2019.

Responding to the plastic waste challenge and striving for zero environmental impact in its operations is an integral part of Nestlé’s commitment to creating shared value for shareholders and society. The company is particularly dedicated to accelerating action in tackling the plastic waste issue and reporting on its progress publicly.

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