Nestlé reduces plastic from cereal packaging and rolls out paper Smarties packs worldwide

Well-known cereal brands including Cheerios, Shreddies and Shredded Wheat are set to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging by more than 600 tonnes annually, while Nestlé's Smarties brand is also switching to recyclable paper packaging worldwide.

Plans are also in place for the packaging to be rolled out across other brands next year

Plans are also in place for the packaging to be rolled out across other brands next year

The breakfast cereal brands are manufactured by Cereal Partners – a joint venture between Nestlé and General Mills – and are all set to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging by up to 15% compared to current levels.

Nestlé Cereals UK’s new on-shelf packs will save an estimated 618 tonnes of plastic and cardboard packaging every year. The new packs will also mean that fewer lorries are required to transport the products to stores across the UK, saving an estimated total of 115,000 road miles - resulting in a reduction of 180 tonnes of CO₂ per annum.

The company’s Cereal Partners Worldwide vice president UK & Oceania Gharry Eccles said: “We know sustainability is an issue close to the hearts of today’s consumers, and it’s close to ours too. Today, we’re united in a mission to create a positive impact on the world around us, which is why we’ve revamped everything from our production lines, to our logistics processes to help make reductions in plastic and cardboard packaging and reduce our carbon footprint.

“While the dimensions of our packs might have changed slightly, consumers can continue to enjoy the same breakfast cereals they know and love, while knowing excess packaging has been removed too.”

The new packaging is available in the UK in Asda and will be available next month in February in Morrisons and in Sainsbury’s and Tesco from March and April respectively. Plans are also in place for the packaging to be rolled out across other brands next year.

The packaging builds on wider commitments from Nestle to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Last year, Nestlé also announced that its European business would follow in the footsteps of its UK operations by signing up to the European Plastics Pact to help achieve its goals of ensuring packaging is 100% reusable or recyclable by 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.

Smart decision

In related news, the Nestlé-owned Smarties brand is also reducing the amount of plastic it uses in packaging. Following an initiative that saw 10% of Smarties products housed in recyclable paper packaging, the brand is now rolling out the paper packaging worldwide.

The initiative will remove more than 250 million plastic packs from circulation each year, with new packaging designs such as sharing bags, multipacks and tubes made from paper or carton board to be used. The packaging rollout will be completed in the UK and Ireland by April.

Nestlé’s head of confectionery Alexander von Maillot said: “Moving Smarties packaging to recyclable paper is one of our key sustainable packaging initiatives in the confectionery category.

“It is a further step in realising Nestlé’s ambition to make all of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and to reduce our use of virgin plastics by one third in the same period.”

Matt Mace


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