Nestlé Waters keen to price cost of recycling into bottle sales

Nestlé Waters is seeking to implement a market-based recycling model for its business whereby the cost of recycling its bottled water packaging is offset against the product retail price.

Nestlé Waters North America vice president of public policy Brian Flaherty revealed the plan at a conference in Washington DC, US, earlier this month, where he was outlining the company’s long and short term plans for recycling and water conservation.

According to a report from US news site Stamford Advocate, Nestlé Waters is considering increasing the price of each bottle by one or two cents at the point of purchase – the extra proceeds from this would go into a ringfenced fund to support the recycling of the plastic packaging.

Flaherty pointed to schemes which have been shown to work in Manitoba, Canada, resulting in a 61% increase in recycling rates across the province. He believes similar initiatives could work at a more local level, for instance in the communities where Nestlé Waters operates.

He revealed that the company has staged talks with US policy makers about putting market-based recycling into place, but these discussions have been “slow going” so far. “Four out of every 10 bottles is not getting recycled … that’s not good enough,” he added.

Community engagement

Increasing collection rates to recycle bottled water packaging is a major issue for Nestlé Waters – while these rates are progressively increasing in Europe and North America, there remain considerable discrepancies in recycling rates from one country to another.

In the UK, the company has looked to engage the wider community in helping to boost collection rates – last year edie reported plans by Nestlé Waters to expand its Buxton Natural Mineral Water bottle recycling scheme in the Derbyshire town of Buxton, where it has a dedicated manufacturing site.

The aspiration towards market-based recycling would help push the company’s zero waste ambitions forward, at least in North America. Currently six of Nestle Waters’ 28 US factories reuse all their waste and are classified as zero-waste-to-landfill sites.

Maxine Perella

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