Nestle invests in food-grade recycled plastics as part of closed-loop innovation drive

Nestlé has launched a new £22m ($30m) investment to increase the amount of food-grade recycled plastics it uses in packaging, has launched a new refill system for pet food and will trial recyclable paper packaging for certain brands.

Nestle invests in food-grade recycled plastics as part of closed-loop innovation drive


The £22m investment will see Nestlé increase use of food-grade recycled plastics in the US. Separate from the investment is a new refillable system for pet food that will be trialled in Chile, while paper packaging will be used for the company’s Maggi bouillon cubes in France.

Nestlé’s global head of sustainable packaging Véronique Cremades-Mathis said, “We have made strides in our transformative journey towards a waste-free future, but we know that we have more work to do. As the world’s largest food and beverage company, we’re committed to putting our size and scale to work to tackle the packaging waste problem everywhere that we operate.”

Currently, 87% of Nestlé’s packaging is already recyclable or reusable. Nestlé’s ambition is to make all of its packaging either recyclable or reusable by 2025, a target that was set publicly in 2018.

To reach this goal, the company is researching new innovations that can cut back on the amount of plastic it uses.

Innovation drive

Nestlé is looking to support new solutions through the Nestlé Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize, which will launch later this month. Delivered in partnership with non-profit Ashoka, up to £200,000 will be awarded in grants for innovations that can help tackle plastics waste.

The Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences is also testing new packaging materials, including the paper-based variants being trialled in Chile. The institute has around 50 scientists and works with more than 180 packaging experts across Nestlé’s gal R&D network.

Earlier this year, the company committed £1.59bn to source food-grade recycled plastics to be used in its packaging, alongside a pledge to cut the amount of virgin plastics it sources by a third.

The £1.59bn includes a £200m sustainable packaging venture to fund start-up companies with innovative packaging solutions and a £1.19bn allocation to pay a premium for food-grade recycled plastics between now and 2025.

The company’s 2025 targets align with the UK Plastics Pact and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. Nestlé is disclosing data as to how it is reducing its 1.7 million metric tonnes of plastics packaging.

Since the 2025 targets were set, the company has rolled out plastic-free packaging, which is being used for the firm’s new YES! snack bar brand is made using coated paper that is classed as widely recyclable in the UK and mainland Europe. The company has also revealed plans to make all plastics packaging across its Buxton water brand with 100% recycled content by 2021. Additionally, the company has launched a recyclable paper pouch for its new chocolate milk drink, Nesquik All-Natural powder, and has begun work to remove plastic straws from its beverage portfolio.

In August 2020, the company confirmed that Nestlé Philippines reached plastic neutrality. Nestlé collected and co-processed the equivalent amount of plastic as contained in the products sold in the Philippines, which in turn stopped the waste seeping into the natural environment.

Matt Mace

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