Mars and Nestle spearhead chemicals recycling scheme for plastics

Mars and Nestlé have teamed up with packaging solutions firm Citeo, energy giant Total and recycling technology provider Recycling Technologies to develop an industrial chemical recycling process for plastic packaging in France.

Mars’s circular packaging plan includes a goal for 100% of its plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, while Nestlé is part of the UK Plastics Pact pledge

Mars’s circular packaging plan includes a goal for 100% of its plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, while Nestlé is part of the UK Plastics Pact pledge

The companies from all points of the plastic packaging value chain have teamed up to examine the technical and economic barriers and feasibility of developing recycling solutions for packaging such as multi-layered food-grade packaging. The initiative is targeting types of plastics deemed non-recyclable that are sent for incineration or disposed of in landfill instead.

“We are delighted to join this cross-value-chain consortium to help identify the right system to recycle flexible plastic packaging,” said Kate Wylie, Global Vice President, Sustainability at Mars.

“Identifying and investing in the right waste management systems is a critical part of the solution to address the plastic waste problem. We support this new pyrolysis project in France to help identify circular systems for post-consumer plastic packaging and consequently increase the scale of recycling across Europe.”

Plastic pledges

Mars’s circular packaging plan includes a goal for 100% of its plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, while Nestlé is part of the UK Plastics Pact pledge, committing to making all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

On the alternative materials front, Nestlé has launched paper-based pouches and boxes for Nesquik and Smarties by the end of 2019, with similar packaging to be developed for Milo in 2020. It is also investing in US-based recycling innovation firm PureCycle, which aims to boost the quality of recycled plastics, and French green chemistry firm Carbios, which is pioneering a new chemical recycling process for plastics.  Water bottles which are both biodegradable and recyclable are also in the pipeline, but Nestlé has not yet set a deadline for bringing this innovation to market.

Nestlé has also partnered with the developer of Procter & Gamble's (P&G) plastics innovation concept, in a bid to bring an emerging technology which restores recycled plastic streams to 'near-virgin' quality to the market.

Developed by US-based recycling innovation firm PureCycle, the technology applies chemical additives to contaminated or coloured polypropylene plastic waste, separating coloured dyes, odours, dirt and food and drink waste from the plastic itself using a contained reaction process.

“By addressing the circular economy challenges of food-grade plastics, chemical recycling is a perfect addition to our existing mechanical recycling activities,” said Bernard Pinatel, President Refining & Chemicals at Total. “The project announced today to develop an industrial sector involving major players in the packaging value chain is an important step in our ambition to produce 30% recycled polymers by 2030.”


Join edie's free online event on single-use plastics 

Registration is now open for an afternoon of live, interactive webinar presentations and discussions on Thursday 16 January - all dedicated to helping businesses collaborate, innovate and actuate to eliminate single-use plastics.

These Business Leadership Inspiration Sessions will help sustainability and resource efficiency professionals who are looking to make 2020 the year that they turn the tide on single-use plastics.

Full details and registration can be found here.    

Matt Mace    



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