NestlÚ gets specific about sustainability

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Photo by NestlÚ SA NestlÚ SA will phase out specific materials in its packaging for major global brands such as Nesquick and Smarties.

Nestlé SA is getting more specific about environmental goals, saying that making packaging recyclable is not enough.

The Swiss-based food and beverage giant is taking a series of specific actions to "achieve a waste-free future," including a focus on plastic waste.

The company identified what it called "materials for which recycling schemes are unlikely to be established." Those materials will no longer be used in new packaging and phased out of existing packaging, Nestlé said.

They include PVC, polyvinylidene chloride, polystyrene, expanded PS and non-recyclable plastic and paper combinations such as laminated paper cups, Nestlé said.

This latest news follows an April 2018 commitment to make its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

"While we are committed to pursuing recycling options where feasible, we know that 100 percent recyclability is not enough to successfully tackle the plastics waste crisis," CEO Mark Schneider said in a Jan. 15 announcement.

"We are determined to look at every option to solve this complex challenge and embrace multiple solutions that can have an impact now," he continued.

Nestlé said it will phase out non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle plastics for all products by 2025. The company will look at alternative materials to find replacements.

The company already has some plans in place, including the elimination of all plastic straws starting next month. Nestlé plans to use alternative materials such as paper as well as design changes.

Other products, initially including Nesquik, will transition to paper packaging as well.

In another example, in the United Kingdom, its popular candy Smarties packs were traditionally sold in cardboard tubes with plastic sealed ends.

Nestlé is now planning to remove the plastic caps on all Smarties packs, including giant tubes and multipacks. Trials on new materials, including paper-based alternatives, are due to start later this year.

The company's North American bottled water operations already have laid out goals to reach 50 percent recycled content by 2025.

Now the company said Nestlé Waters will increase recycled PET content in all global bottles to 35 percent by 2025. Certain European brands, including Acqua Panna, Buxton, Henniez and Levissima, will use 50 percent recycled PET by then.

"We need to push the boundaries and do more. We are determined to look at every option to solve this complex challenge and embrace multiple solutions that can have an impact now. We believe in the value of recyclable and compostable paper-based materials and biodegradable polymers, in particular where recycling infrastructure does not exist," Schneider said in his statement.

Nestlé also said it has become the first food company to partner with Project STOP, an effort to eliminate plastic entering the ocean in Southeast Asia.

Within the company's own operations, all 4,200 facilities will eliminate single-use plastics that cannot be recycled.

And employees at all locations will take part in litter removal and clean-up activities in their communities.

Nestlé also said the company will work globally with Danimer Scientific, a maker of biodegradable plastic products, to develop biodegradable bottles. The partnership will use Danimer Scientific's Nodax brand of polyhydroxyalkanoate.

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