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Key actions to fight plastic pollution

plastic bag floating in sea


Plastic waste that accumulates in landfills and the environment is one of the most pressing environmental issues of this time.

Plastic waste endangers wildlife and threatens ecosystems and the food chain. We see plastic pollution as an urgent priority. 

We can't solve this problem alone, so we are collaborating with other companies, research institutes and governments around the world to identify ways we can collectively reduce the plastic waste making its way into the environment.

Supporting a future where no Nestlé plastic packaging ends up in landfill or the ocean

4.5 billion
250 million
50 %

Taking action to fight plastic pollution

Our goal is to use less plastic in our packaging. By eliminating unnecessary plastic (from tear-off bands to single-use items like straws), introducing reusable and refillable alternatives and switching to paper, bio-based and biodegradable materials, we are already reducing our plastic footprint. 

But our actions extend beyond the materials we use in our packaging. To help prevent our packaging from ending up in landfills, we are working to make recycling easier, by supporting infrastructure improvements and encouraging people to contribute to do what they can to tackle plastic pollution.

Creating change like this beyond our own operations requires strong collaboration. We are part of the Consumer Goods Forum's Plastic Waste Coalition for Action, the World Economic Forum's Global Plastic Action Partnership, and Plastic PACTS around the world, highlighting our commitment to leading voluntary action by companies in this space.

Nestlé aims to collect the same number of bottles as we produce by 2030.

Collecting as much plastic as we sell

Nestlé teams around the world are working to recover and recycle as much plastic as we use in our packaging, on a 'one tonne in, one tonne out' principle known as 'plastic neutrality'. In August 2022, Nestlé Philippines celebrated its second full year of plastic neutrality, preventing the plastic collected from reaching landfills or the ocean.

Making coffee pod recycling easier

Nestlé brands Nespresso, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Starbucks at Home and CRU Kafe have collaborated with competitor Jacobs Douwe Egberts in the UK to create drop-off points for recycling used coffee pods or having them collected in special bags with regular household waste. The scheme, called Podback, is helping spread awareness that pods can be recycled. In the future it is hoped that pods made of plastic, aluminum or both can all be recycled.

Closing the 'Loop': From sparkling water to breakfast cereals

The TerraCycle social enterprise initiative is inspiring consumers in parts of North America and Europe with its subscription home delivery service, Loop, where customers can enjoy waste-free shopping deliveries, covering everything from Vittel bottled water to Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Nesquik and Chocapic Bio cereal. Reusable glass or stainless steel containers are either collected from consumers’ homes or dropped off by people in stores to be cleaned, refilled and put back in Loop's circular system.

Testing new solutions to reduce Nestlé plastic packaging

Nestlé Indonesia and Nestlé's R+D Accelerator in Singapore have explored a packaging refill system where consumers order food and beverages on an app and receive their products through a refill system via a bicycle service. The scheme, which supports the Indonesian government's ambition to reduce waste by 30% by 2025, is being examined as a potential model for reducing single-use plastic.

Substituting hard-to-recycle materials with paper 

Nestlé has introduced recyclable paper packaging for products including Maggi bouillon cubes, Nesquik, KitKat, Nescafé and others, often replacing multi-material wrappings that are hard to separate or recycle. At the same time, we have switched to paper straws for Nesquik, Nescau, Milo and Nescafé. In January 2021, Smarties became the first global Nestlé confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packaging.

Creating a global market for food-grade recycled plastics

Nestlé is investing CHF 2 billion to accelerate the development of more sustainable packaging - and the infrastructure to support a circular lifecycle. Most plastics are difficult to recycle for food packaging, creating a limited supply of food-grade recycled plastics. While this work gathers pace, we are committed to paying up to CHF 1.5 billion in premiums for food-grade recycled plastics up to 2025 to help create a market for these materials.

Uniting behind a shared vision of a circular economy for plastic

In 2019, we joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative. We pledged to work across the industry to create a circular economy for plastic, starting with packaging - eliminating unnecessary plastic in our packaging and innovating to make the plastic that we do need recyclable and reusable.

As of the end of 2021, 80% of our plastic packaging can be recycled and we expect to reach more than 95% by 2025. We remain committed to achieving 100%. We are on track to reduce the use of newly made plastic - or virgin plastic - by one third by 2025. We continue supporting governments in accelerating infrastructure development.

One way we do this is by actively advocating for a legally binding Global Plastics Treaty and the prospect of new, harmonized national regulations to follow.

Reusable packaging
Creating Shared Value and Sustainability Report