Working towards a waste-free future
With plastic waste continuing to accumulate in landfills and in our oceans, endangering wildlife, tackling plastic pollution has never been so pressing. It is an urgent priority for us and a responsibility we take seriously.
We are accelerating our actions when it comes to tackling the plastic waste problem and are committed to making a significant difference everywhere we operate.
We are making progress but there is much more to come. We want to be a leader in this space.
Our vision and commitment
Our vision is that none of our packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfill or as litter, including in oceans, lakes or rivers. Our vision is not just some lofty ideal - we are working hard to deliver on it and help to achieve a waste-free future.
We announced in 2018 our commitment to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. In January 2019, we set out our broader vision for a waste-free future, and announced a series of specific actions to meet our commitment.
While we are committed to pursuing recycling options where feasible, we know that 100% recyclability is not enough to successfully tackle the plastics waste problem. We need to push the boundaries and do more.
Building on our commitment to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, we aim to reduce our use of virgin plastics by one third in the same timeframe. We will do so by leading the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics, while accelerating the development of innovative packaging solutions.
We are determined to look at every option to solve complex packaging challenges and embrace multiple solutions that can have an impact now. These solutions include introducing new delivery systems and innovative business models — like reusable or refill systems — to reduce our use of single-use plastics and using recyclable paper-based materials and compostable packaging where plastics recycling is not a viable option.
As we deploy new solutions, we will never compromise the health of our consumers. Plastic packaging plays an important role in safely delivering food and drinks to consumers and reducing food loss and waste, so we need to carefully consider alternatives before making changes. The safety and quality of our foods and beverages are non-negotiable.
Addressing the complex problem of plastic pollution requires taking an inclusive and joined-up approach. To realize this objective, specific actions are required. In line with this approach, we are taking tangible steps in:
1. Pioneering alternative materials
- We are investing up to CHF 2 billion to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of innovative sustainable packaging. Most plastics are difficult to recycle for food packaging, leading to a limited supply of food-grade recycled plastics. To create a market, Nestlé is therefore committed to sourcing up to 2 million metric tons of food-grade recycled plastics and allocating more than CHF 1.5 billion to pay a premium for these materials between now and 2025.
- As part of our CHF 2 billion investment announced in January 2020, we will also launch a sustainable packaging venture fund focusing on start-up companies that are developing innovative packaging solutions.
- We have created the Nestlé Institute for Packaging Sciences to develop sustainable packaging materials and collaborate with industry partners to scale-up research and innovation. Through the Institute, we are currently exploring a range of innovations, including new paper-based materials as well as biodegradable/compostable polymers that are also recyclable.
- We have rolled out paper-based packaging globally for Nesquik in the first quarter of 2019, and for the YES! snackbar in the second half of 2019. Smarties will soon roll out plastic-free, paper-based packaging in 2020. Milo will also introduce paper-based pouches in 2020.
- We are phasing out all plastics that are non-recyclable or hard to recycle for all our products worldwide by 2025 (pdf, 50Kb).
- As part of this commitment, starting in February 2019, we began eliminating all plastic straws from our products.
- Nestlé will increase the amount of recycled PET it uses across its brands globally to 50% by 2025. Our Nestlé Pure Life brand introduced of a 700-mL bottle made from 100% recycled plastic in North America, and Valvert launched a 100% r-PET bottle in Belgium.
- Poland Spring, America’s leading spring water brand, has committed to reaching 100% recycled plastic across its still water portfolio by 2022. Poland Spring has started transitioning its packaging to recycled plastic (rPET). The 1-liter bottle made of 100% rPET, together with a new premium Poland Spring ORIGIN offering made entirely with recycled plastic, are now available in this market.
- We have launched a global partnership with Danimer Scientific to develop a marine biodegradable and recyclable bottle for our water business.
- We have joined NaturALL Bottle Alliance, which aims to develop 100% bio-based PET to be used for our water business.
- Recognizing the challenges in getting food-grade quality recycled materials, we have started a collaboration with PureCycle Technologies to produce food-grade recycled polypropylene.
2. Shaping a waste-free future
- We are partnering with Project STOP, a frontline initiative aimed at addressing the leakage of plastic into the ocean, through partnerships with cities and governments in Southeast Asia. Our first Project STOP pilot is in Indonesia.
- We are founding signatory and a core 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 are rolling out our collaboration with TerraCycle to develop reusable packaging, through the subscription home delivery service Loop, in countries where the service is currently, or soon to be, available.
- Dispensers for Nescafé and Milo are already available in many countries around the world.
- In early 2020, we will launch new water dispensers using state-of-the-art technology, allowing consumers to fill their own reusable bottles.
- We are partnering with Veolia to work on waste collection, sorting and recycling of plastic material, with a particular emphasis on flexible plastic packaging. The partnership will also explore technologies to establish viable models of recycling in different countries.
- Together with other companies, we have launched the Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance to develop the recycling infrastructure across Sub-Saharan Africa – and creating jobs in the process.
- In June last year, we signed a partnership in Vietnam with seven other companies to establish a not-for-profit Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam). It will focus its activities on three pillars: educating consumers on recycling awareness and segregation; strengthening the existing packaging collection ecosystem; and supporting recycling programs of processors and recyclers.
3. Driving new behavior
- All Nestlé facilities worldwide are eliminating single-use plastic items that cannot be recycled.
- To mark World Oceans Day in June last year, 6,300 employees and their families participated in clean-up initiatives in 70 locations worldwide. From US, to Thailand, Egypt, Italy and Switzerland, they removed 60 tons of waste from the environment. Find more information on Nestlé Cares.