Nestlé set to launch its first plastic-free packaging in 2019

Food and beverage giant Nestlé has published a sweeping string of new sustainable packaging commitments, including plans for its first plastic-free packaging, and achieving 'plastic-neutrality'.

The commitments, which will see Nestlé launch its first plastic-free packaging lines by the end of 2019, build on its UK Plastics Pact pledge to ensure 100% of its plastic packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Published on Tuesday (15 January), they divide the company’s plastics action plan into three main sections – pioneering alternative materials, creating a waste-free future and driving behaviour change.

Actions to champion alternative materials include launching paper-based pouches and boxes for Nesquik and Smarties by the end of 2019, with similar packaging to be developed for Milo in 2020. Plastic straws will also be removed from all Nestlé products, with the phase-out set to begin in February.

Nestlé has additionally unveiled plans to develop water bottles which are both biodegradable and recyclable but has not yet set a deadline for bringing this innovation to market.

The headline ambition of the ‘creating a waste-free future’ pillar, meanwhile, is achieving ‘plastic-neutrality’, meaning that Nestle will finance the collection of the same amount of plastic pollution as its plastic output. The collected waste will then be sent for recycling.

Lastly, the behaviour change portion of the new strategy focuses on reducing the plastic footprint of Nestlé’s 323,000 employees. It includes a pledge to remove non-recyclable, single-use items from the company’s 4,200 facilities – a move which will be accompanied by a communications campaign aimed at boosting reuse and recycling rates for other items.

“While we are committed to pursuing recycling options where feasible, we know that 100% recyclability is not enough to successfully tackle the plastics waste crisis - we need to push the boundaries and do more,” Nestlé’s chief executive Mark Schneider said.

“We are determined to look at every option to solve this complex challenge and embrace multiple solutions that can have an impact now.”

Turning the tide on plastics

The publication of Nestlé’s new commitments comes shortly after the Swiss multinational announced that it had joined Project STOP, a business-led initiative aiming to prevent plastic pollution from leaking into waterways and oceans across South-East Asia. This move forms part of the company’s ambition to create a waste-free future.

Founded by innovative materials firm Borealis and blockchain developer SYSTEMIQ in 2017, Project STOP was created in a bid to tackle the 12 million tonnes of plastic estimated to be seeping into the marine environment every year.

Of this waste, around half is estimated to originate from five Asian nations - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. The project, which has garnered support from the likes of waste management firm Veolia and the Norwegian Government, is, therefore, driving actions to improve waste management infrastructure, plastics policies and business ambition in these markets.

As part of the initiative, Nestle has pledged to apply key learnings from its work in South-East Asia to its other markets before the end of 2019, as part of its bid to become ‘plastic-neutral’.

“It’s extremely concerning that the lack of sustainable waste management systems and practices have contributed to the escalation of the problem of marine litter,” Borealis’s chief executive Alfred Stern said.

“We are excited to welcome Nestle as a new strategic partner of Project STOP and look forward to new partners and alliances on our journey to scale up this initiative.”

edie's Mission Possible Plastics Hub

This week, edie launched the Mission Possible Plastics Hub – a brand-new content-driven campaign that will support sustainability and resource efficiency professionals on our collective mission to eliminate single-use plastics.

In addition to hosting content that supports businesses with their single-use plastics phase-outs, the Mission Possible Plastics Hub will be encouraging sustainability professionals to submit new commitments to tackle plastic pollution on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall.

If your company has an existing plastics commitment, or if you’re planning a new commitment over the coming months, you can showcase it on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall.


(By submitting a pledge, edie readers are agreeing to the commitment, target date and expected benefits being published on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall, along with their name and job title. They are also agreeing to being contacted by a member of the edie editorial team, should any further information about their pledge be required.)

Taking place on Thursday: edie's single-use plastics business transformation webinar

Sustainability professionals seeking more insight on how best to reducing or eliminate single-use plastics can tune in to edie's free webinar, entitled 'Single-use plastics: How to lead a business transformation', on Thursday (17 January) at 2pm. 

Featuring expert speakers from A Plastic Planet, Sky and Cranswick, the hour-long session will combine best-practice case studies with expert insights to give you a clear way forward in your organisation's approach to plastics. 


Sarah George


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