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Global Recycling Day: Nestlé boasts improved packaging design and waste management investments

#Global Recycling Day: Nestlé boasts improved packaging design and waste management investments

18 Mar 2024 — Nestlé is using Global Recycling Day to promote its “vision that none of its packaging ends up in landfills or as litter.” The day, created by the Global Recycling Foundation, says recycling is “on the front line in the war to save the future of our planet and humanity.” However, Nestlé has repeatedly been named one of the world’s top polluters and has faced legal action over its recyclability claims.

The company highlights improving its packaging to facilitate recycling and support better waste management.

“We are making progress in reducing our overall packaging, making it more recyclable, and using renewable or recycled materials in our packaging,” says Antonia Wanner, Nestlé’s head of ESG Strategy and Deployment.

“The design and material used in our packaging are factors we can directly impact. But we also go beyond that and help build up waste management infrastructure, support harmonized regulation, and engage in the human rights of waste workers.”

Design for recycling
At the end of last year, according to the company, 83.5% of Nestlé’s plastic packaging globally was designed for recycling. For example, in the UK and Ireland, Nestlé transitioned its Quality Street sweets and Smarties to recyclable paper packaging.

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The corporation also says a scale-up of waste management infrastructure is needed to reach recycling targets. Nestlé is working with local and national governments, industry alliances, civil society and consumers to develop and improve recycling infrastructure in the countries where it operates.

Nestlé has partnered on 220 initiatives to develop well-functioning waste collection, sorting and recycling schemes in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and Latin America. In the UK, for example, Nestlé announced a £7 million (~US$8.9 million) investment into a new recycling facility that processes flexible plastics.

In Brazil, Nestlé has partnered with the Recicleiros Cidades project. This initiative provides job training, promotes consumer recycling education and implements waste collection infrastructure in 11 Brazilian states. Waste collection partnership projects supported by Nestlé in Brazil provide employment to 8,000 recycling professionals.

Nestlé also uses recycled and renewable materials in its packaging, and at the end of 2023, 41.5% of its total packaging was made from recycled or renewable content.

The company is using 50% recycled PE (rPE) in the shrink film used across its European factories and is aiming to increase the amount of food-grade continuously recycled PP and rPE in many of its brands’ packaging, including Nesquik, KitKat and Purina.

“Nestlé will continue to pursue its work to keep packaging materials in the circular economy and out of the environment,” says the company.

Edited by Louis Gore-Langton

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