Imagine a world where no waste ends up in a landfill or as litter…
Today, waste leakage poses a constant threat to the environment.
The output of solid waste on the planet has grown from 25 gigatons, that’s 25 billion tons, in 1990, to 86 gigatons in 2020 – and is projected to reach 140 gigatons by 2050, according to the World Economic Forum.
Tackling plastic pollution has clearly never been more pressing, with plastic waste continuing to accumulate in landfills and in oceans.
At Nestlé, we commit to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, up from 88% today. We will promote a circular economy and drive collective action to ensure packaging stays out of the environment.
Our vision is that none of our packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfills or as litter, including in oceans, lakes, or rivers.
What we have done so far
Reducing use of packaging material
We at Nestlé are using less packaging material and reducing our use of virgin plastics by leading the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics, while accelerating the development of innovative packaging solutions.
Nestlé Waters, for example, is committed to increasing the use of recycled material by 50% by 2025, and to collecting as many bottles as it produces by 2030. Nestlé water bottles are already recyclable, and increasingly made with more recycled content (rPET), where locally possible. Nestlé's Belgian mineral water brand Valvert was the first to launch a bottle made of 100% rPET in 2019, meaning that it only uses old bottles to produce new bottles, with no new virgin PET needing to be created.
We systematically review the need for plastic shrink wrap on pallets and product packaging, and identify opportunities to substitute paper, or eliminate plastic entirely.
Another example comes from Nespresso, which has taken an important step towards circularity with the introduction of new capsules made with 80% recycled aluminum.
Scaling reusable and refillable systems
To eliminate the need for disposable packaging, Nestlé is working hard to eliminate non-recyclable plastics and invest in innovative, alternative delivery systems.
We, for example, are scaling up reusable and refillable options for our Petcare and soluble coffee products through collaboration with the start-up company MIWA in Switzerland.
In France Nestlé is offering reusable containers for Nesquik cocoa powder, Ricoré chicory and coffee drink, as well as Chocapic Bio cereals, in partnership with the French retailer Carrefour and other entities. Dispensers for Nescafé and Milo are also already available in other countries around the world.
Pioneering alternative packaging materials to facilitate recycling
Nestlé is evaluating and developing various sustainable packaging materials, collaborating with industrial partners, and investing up to CHF 2 billion (US$2.16 billion) to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of innovative sustainable packaging solutions.
The development and testing of new, more environmentally friendly packaging materials is driven by our Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, the food industry’s first such enterprise. The Institute has around 50 scientists who conduct cutting-edge packaging research to ensure the safety and applicability of new materials.
Research outcomes include new refillable or reusable systems, simplified materials, high-performance barrier papers, and the introduction of more recycled content to Nestlé's packaging. The Institute collaborates closely with more than 180 packaging experts embedded in our global Research and Development network, as well as with research institutions, start-ups, and suppliers.
Product packaging transformations
Recent packaging transformations within Nestlé’s product portfolio include transitioning to paper packaging across various formats, with examples such as the Smartiessharing block, a popular color-coated chocolate confectionery product, becoming available in a recyclable paper wrapper in the United Kingdom. Other brands such as Nesquik, Nescafé, KitKat, and Maggi have witnessed similar shifts to paper packaging in various locations. Paper straws for Nesquik, Milo, and Nescafé have been introduced.
NIDO FortiGrow pouch is also now designed for recycling without impacting the product’s shelf-life.
Supporting infrastructures that help to shape a waste-free future
One hundred percent recyclability is not enough, which is why Nestlé is committed to playing an active role in developing plastics collection, sorting, and recycling schemes across the world, and to converting packaging into a valuable resource. We have a longer-term ambition to stop plastic leakage into the environment across our global operations.
We are a founding signatory and partner of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative led jointly by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment, to promote and encourage progress in tackling the plastic waste problem.
We advocate for the design and implementation of effective mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility schemes that are contributing to industry coalitions which aim to encourage circular economies within countries, and promote recycling and reusing in manners that create shared value for all.
We at Nestlé have identified 20 countries that account for 50% of our plastic usage, where we will focus our efforts to increase recycling rates and support waste management infrastructure. These include Egypt, where we launched the initiative “DORNA,” which means “our turn” in Arabic, in Cairo in 2020, in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Environment and other local entities. We aim to boost recycling of plastic packaging material and improve our ecosystem by incentivizing waste collectors to pick up more PET plastics for redeemable rewards. DORNA is slated to collect 17,000 tons of PET in 2021; and projected to collect up to 28,000 tons in 2024. These figures will allow us to achieve plastic neutrality, by collecting as much plastics as we produce.
Nestlé is part of a government-endorsed coalition in Abu Dhabi, The Coalition CIRCLE (Coalition of Innovation in Recycling towards a Closed Loop Economy), comprised of NGOs, global and local private companies, which has committed to tackling the issue of packaging waste pollution.
Members recently partnered with Veolia to launch the RECAPP app, which offers a convenient and rewarding solution to recycle from home, while enabling sustainable lifestyles, and promoting a circular economy. The app incentivizes free door-door collection of plastics and metal cans; and has already been utilized by more than 7,000 households. (Yasmine)
Nespresso has been collecting and recycling its coffee capsules around the world, including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Similar programs are being implemented by Nescafé Dolce Gusto.
Driving new behaviors
We at Nestlé are leading the way on driving behavioral changes which are essential to tackling the global plastic waste challenge.
We are rolling out a sustainable packaging education and training program for over 270,000 employees, to accelerate behavior change and help us meet our packaging objectives. Other actions within our operations include eliminating single-use plastic items that cannot be recycled from all our facilities worldwide.
We are inspiring consumers to change their behaviors with such offerings as a digital platform to help dispose of packaging waste appropriately in Italy.
Another example from the United Arab Emirates is the launch of the Nestlé Pure Life Eco Mission in 2021, in partnership with the Zeloop mobile phone app. It aims to collect recyclable plastic bottles of any brand, raise recycling awareness, and drive behavioral change by offering rewards to those who deposit plastic bottles at mapped spots.
Nestlé supports external initiatives and encourages innovation geared towards driving behavioral changes. One way we do that is through the Nestlé Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize, which since 2010 has aimed at identifying system-changing initiatives for some of today's most critical environmental and social issues. The Prize’s 2020-2021 edition tackled the challenge of “How do we create a waste-free future?” Among its ten finalists was Lebanon’s Live Love Recycle which created a mobile phone app that offers on-demand recycling collection services, removing a barrier to sustainable waste management.