Improving packaging performance

Good packaging is crucial to the safety and quality of food, but it shouldn’t end there. That’s why we’re focusing on making our packaging recyclable or reusable.

Our commitment

Improve the environmental performance of our packaging

Why it matters

Plastic waste, and in particular plastic-based marine pollution, is one of the biggest environmental issues the world is facing today. Packaging can be a major contributor to such waste. At the same time, it remains important for purposes such as protecting foods and beverages during transportation, extending the shelf life of food and preventing food waste. This makes it essential not just to reduce the amount of packaging used, but to make packaging recyclable or reusable.

Our approach

We want none of our packaging to end up as litter. To achieve that, we’re transforming how we think about packaging, using more renewable and recyclable materials and supporting recycling initiatives.

What we are doing

We’re making big changes to our packaging.

By 2020

Continue to systematically analyze and optimize our packaging portfolio, avoiding the use of at least 140 000 tonnes from 2015 to 2020.

Our result: 118 710 tonnes of packaging have been avoided since 2015.

By 2020

Drive alliances with relevant stakeholders to address packaging waste management and marine littering in 10 relevant markets.

Our result: 8 alliances with relevant stakeholders to address packaging waste management and marine littering in 10 relevant markets.

Moving to paper

Developments are ongoing to reduce the use of plastic in our packaging and replace it with paper. Barrier coating solutions are required for paper to make it fit for purpose for primary packaging applications. Nestlé Thailand is currently developing a paper flow wrap for its Extreme Nama brand.

Simplification of laminates

One of the drivers for incentivizing and increasing recycling is to simplify the plastic laminates structure by limiting the number of materials used. Nestlé India has recently renovated its Munch chocolate bar packaging using a mono-material PP film instead of a complex laminate structure.

Our NaturALL Bottle Alliance welcomes PepsiCo into the fold

In 2017, we founded a research consortium, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance, with Danone and bio-based materials company Origin Materials. The alliance has one core goal: the development of packaging made with 100% sustainable and renewable resources. In September 2018, we were excited to welcome PepsiCo to the initiative to help us build on the work we’ve already done.

PepsiCo is a welcome addition to the alliance because we share the goal of making renewable plastic a reality. Through the combined efforts of its members, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance is setting that bar for sustainability for an entire industry. John Bissell, CEO, Origin Materials

The alliance has also selected a site in Ontario, Canada as the location for a demonstration-scale plant. The plant is expected to have a capacity of 18 000 tons of biomass and be fully operational by 2020, after which the alliance plans to increase production to 95% (and, ultimately, 100%) bio-based PET and achieve full commercial scale.

We’re launching more and more bottles made from recycled plastic

In the US, Nestlé Waters just introduced a 700ml bottle made from 100% recycled plastic called rPET. With a modern, premium design, the bottle reflects our commitment not just to protecting the environment, but to helping people drink more water. We also reduced the plastic content of our 500ml Nestlé Waters bottles by over 60%, which avoids the use of more than 2.7 million tonnes of plastic. In November 2018, we signed an agreement with recycled plastics producer CarbonLITE – this means the supplier is building a production facility near two of our bottling plants.

Additionally, all of our single-serve bottles of Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water and Nestlé Pure Life® Purified Water produced in California are made with 50% recycled plastic. In Europe, we use bio-based plastic for our Levissima bottles, with it making up 30% of our still water bottles and 16% of our 1.5L sparkling water bottles.

Signing up to four new plastic pledges in Europe

As a member of the European Federation of Bottled Waters, we’re proud to support the federation’s four new industry-wide pledges aimed at reducing plastic waste and creating a circular economy. In particular, these pledges aim to collect more PET bottles and give them a second life, as well as using more recycled plastic when creating new bottles. They are:

  • Collect 90% of all PET bottles by 2025, as an EU average.
  • Collaborate with the recycling industry to use at least 25% recycled PET (rPET) in water bottles by 2025, as an EU average.
  • Innovate and invest further in eco-design and research on non-fossil-based plastic materials.
  • Engage with consumers, who play a key role in preventing littering.

We already support several schemes in Europe aimed at increasing recycling, including the CITEO campaign and the deposit return scheme being introduced in the UK. In the US, we support the Closed Loop Fund, Keep America Beautiful and How2Recycle.

The packaging of the future

Doing his part to help protect the environment is motivation for Xavier Caro as he works to develop new packaging materials at Nestlé’s Product Technology Centre in Germany. He has dedicated his career to making packaging more sustainable.

“It’s not good enough just to design the packaging and make it recyclable,” he says. “It’s important to consider how the packaging will be collected and then recycled.” Caro’s team has been working with recycling authorities in Europe for some time, and they’re now collaborating with authorities and other stakeholders in Africa and Asia to develop innovative packaging solutions.

When designing packaging, Caro’s team aims to use as few raw materials as possible and to increase recyclability. “We are trying to really establish a sustainable business model in line with the circular economy approach.”

The sustainability potential of aluminum coffee pods

From the beginning, we’ve been using aluminum to make our Nespresso coffee pods, not only because it protects the flavor and freshness of coffee, but because it is an infinitely recyclable material. Nearly 75% of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today. That means that we can use recycled aluminum to make the pods, which can then be recycled again.

Working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and others, we initiated the aluminum industry’s first global standard for traceability and socio-environmental performance, the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative. We also invest in dedicated recycling challenges and collective schemes.


Find out more

Tackling plastic waste

There is an urgent need to minimize the impact of packaging on the environment; our aim is to make 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

How we're striving for zero

Our 2030 ambition is to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations.

Engaging with our suppliers

Our greatest water stewardship challenge is bringing change to our supply chain.

Safeguarding the environment

We can use resources more efficiently, reduce food waste and help consumers play their part.

Promoting sustainable consumption

Product information can help consumers behave more sustainably.


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