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Working toward a waste-free future

Nature landscape

With plastic waste continuing to accumulate in landfills and in our oceans, endangering wildlife, tackling plastic pollution has never been so pressing. It is an urgent priority for us and a responsibility we take seriously.

We are accelerating our actions when it comes to tackling the plastic waste problem and are committed to making a significant difference everywhere we operate.

We are making progress but there is much more to come. We want to be a leader in this space.

 

Our vision and commitment

Our vision is that none of our packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfill or as litter, including in oceans, lakes or rivers. Our vision is not just some lofty ideal - we are working hard to deliver on it and help to achieve a waste-free future.

We announced in 2018 our commitment to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. In January 2019, we set out our broader vision for a waste-free future, and announced a series of specific actions to meet our commitment.

While we are committed to pursuing recycling options where feasible, we know that 100% recyclability is not enough to successfully tackle the plastics waste problem. We need to push the boundaries and do more.

Building on our commitment to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, we aim to reduce our use of virgin plastics by one third in the same timeframe. We will do so by leading the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics, while accelerating the development of innovative packaging solutions.

On our transformative journey towards a waste-free future, we follow our Rules of Sustainable Packaging (pdf, 723KB). This set of rules is driving our journey and is applied to all packaging innovations and renovations in order to improve design for recycling and overall environmental performance.

We are determined to look at every option to solve complex packaging challenges and embrace multiple solutions that can have an impact now. These solutions include introducing new delivery systems and innovative business models — like reusable or refill systems — to reduce our use of single-use plastics and using recyclable paper-based materials and compostable packaging where plastics recycling is not a viable option.

As we deploy new solutions, we will never compromise the health of our consumers. Plastic packaging plays an important role in safely delivering food and drinks to consumers and reducing food loss and waste, so we need to carefully consider alternatives before making changes. The safety and quality of our foods and beverages are non-negotiable.

Forest road

 

Our actions

Addressing the complex problem of plastic pollution requires taking an inclusive and joined-up approach. To realize this objective, specific actions are required. In line with this approach, we are taking tangible steps in:

1. Pioneering alternative materials

  • We are investing up to CHF 2 billion to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of innovative sustainable packaging. Most plastics are difficult to recycle for food packaging, leading to a limited supply of food-grade recycled plastics. To create a market, Nestlé is therefore committed to sourcing up to 2 million metric tons of food-grade recycled plastics and allocating more than CHF 1.5 billion to pay a premium for these materials between now and 2025.
  • As part of our CHF 2 billion investment announced in January 2020, we will also launch a sustainable packaging venture fund focusing on start-up companies that are developing innovative packaging solutions.
  • We have created the Nestlé Institute for Packaging Sciences to develop sustainable packaging materials and collaborate with industry partners to scale-up research and innovation. Through the Institute, we are currently exploring a range of innovations, including new paper-based materials as well as biodegradable/compostable polymers that are also recyclable.
  • We have rolled out paper-based packaging globally for Nesquik in the first quarter of 2019, and for the YES! snackbar in the second half of 2019. In June 2020, Smarties sharing block in the UK was rolled out in a new recyclable paper wrapper. Milo will also introduce paper-based pouches in 2020.
  • We are phasing out all plastics that are non-recyclable or hard to recycle for all our products worldwide by 2025 (pdf, 50Kb).
  • As part of this commitment, starting in February 2019, we began eliminating all plastic straws from our products.
  • We are convinced that increasing the amount of recycled PET in our plastic bottles (as well as continuing to reduce the amount of PET needed) can improve our overall environmental performance. Nestlé will increase the amount of recycled PET it uses across its brands globally to 50% by 2025. Our Nestlé Pure Life brand introduced of a 700-mL bottle made from 100% recycled plastic in North America, and Valvert launched a 100% r-PET bottle in Belgium. Levissima, our Italian water brand, has also pioneered an environmentally friendly bottle made from 30% vegetable-origin plastic.
  • Poland Spring, America’s leading spring water brand, has committed to reaching 100% recycled plastic across its still water portfolio by 2022. Poland Spring has started transitioning its packaging to recycled plastic (rPET). The 1-liter bottle made of 100% rPET, together with a new premium Poland Spring ORIGIN offering made entirely with recycled plastic, are now available in this market.
  • We have launched a global partnership with Danimer Scientific to develop a marine biodegradable and recyclable bottle for our water business.
  • We have joined NaturALL Bottle Alliance, which aims to develop 100% bio-based PET to be used for our water business.
  • Recognizing the challenges in getting food-grade quality recycled materials, we have started a collaboration with PureCycle Technologies to produce food-grade recycled polypropylene.
 

Leaf salad

 

2. Shaping a waste-free future

  • We are partnering with Project STOP, a frontline initiative aimed at addressing the leakage of plastic into the ocean, through partnerships with cities and governments in Southeast Asia. Our first Project STOP pilot is in Indonesia.
  • We are founding signatory and a partner of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative led jointly by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment, to promote and encourage progress in tackling the plastic waste problem.
  • We are rolling out our collaboration with TerraCycle to develop reusable packaging, through the subscription home delivery service Loop, in countries where the service is currently, or soon to be, available.
  • Dispensers for Nescafé and Milo are already available in many countries around the world.
  • In early 2020, we will launch new water dispensers using state-of-the-art technology, allowing consumers to fill their own reusable bottles.
  • We are partnering with Veolia to work on waste collection, sorting and recycling of plastic material, with a particular emphasis on flexible plastic packaging. The partnership will also explore technologies to establish viable models of recycling in different countries.
  • Together with other companies, we have launched the Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance to develop the recycling infrastructure across Sub-Saharan Africa – and creating jobs in the process.
  • In June last year, we signed a partnership in Vietnam with seven other companies to establish a not-for-profit Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam). It will focus its activities on three pillars: educating consumers on recycling awareness and segregation; strengthening the existing packaging collection ecosystem; and supporting recycling programs of processors and recyclers.
  • Stopping plastic bottle leakage and improving waste management and recycling around the world is a priority for Nestlé. We are adapting our actions for each city, country and region as collection and infrastructure vary – where and how we invest aims to result in maximum positive impact. For example, in the U.S. we are investing USD 6 million in the Closed Loop Fund, a USD 100 million social impact investment fund that helps finance recycling infrastructure projects and community recycling programs across the U.S. In Europe, we are working closely with European national governments and industry leaders to achieve the European commitment of 90% collection for recycling by 2025 (PET bottles and caps).
 

Ocean wave

 

3. Driving new behavior

  • All Nestlé facilities worldwide are eliminating single-use plastic items that cannot be recycled.
  • To mark World Oceans Day in June last year, 6,300 employees and their families participated in clean-up initiatives in 70 locations worldwide. From US, to Thailand, Egypt, Italy and Switzerland, they removed 60 tons of waste from the environment. Find more information on Nestlé Cares.
  • Our consumer messaging for end-of-life PET bottle recycling will be set to be on all brand packaging by the end of 2020. We are also driving positive change through school programs like the Tunuyan Verde project in Argentina, we are helping create a better environment for tomorrow’s generations. Campaigns such as Beat Plastic Pollution in South Korea help us actively encourage recycling of PET water bottles.

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