Nestlé has signed the European Plastics Pact that will help the company achieve 100-percent recyclable or reusable packaging and reduce the use of virgin plastics by one-third by 2025.
The pact, initiated by France and The Netherlands, has a goal to accelerate the transition toward a circular plastics economy. It will stop dependence on virgin plastics or plastics made from non-renewable fossil fuel.
It brings together leading companies, as well as non-government organizations and governments who commit to realizing common goals by 2025 and go beyond current legislation. These European targets include reducing virgin plastic products and packaging by at least 20 percent; raising collection and recycling capacity in Europe for plastic packaging by at least 25 percent; and boosting the use of recycled plastics in packaging to an average of at least 30 percent.
“We are pleased to sign the European Pact. One of our joint objectives is to create a circular economy by improving collection, sorting and recycling schemes across Europe.
Already today a new Vittel plastic bottle is manufactured out of used ones. Tomorrow, we want to make sure that also other packaging, such as our wrappers and pouches, can be recycled into new food packaging,” said Marco Settembri, Nestlé chief executive officer for Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
This will not be easy, as Nestlé’s top priority is the safety of its products. So, any plastic used for food packaging must be “food grade,” which means it cannot contain any substances harmful to humans. In order to achieve food grade recycled plastics, recycling processes will have to evolve.
The challenge for Nestlé and the food industry at large, is that it is currently cheaper to produce packaging from virgin plastics than to use recycled food grade plastics. To overcome this, Nestlé recently announced an investment of more than 1.5 billion Swiss francs in recycled food grade plastics. This aims at giving a clear signal to recycling companies to focus on recycled food grade material and help create a new market.
To further reduce the use of virgin plastics, Nestlé is reinventing the methods it delivers its products. It is currently conducting trials on a packaging-free system for dispensing Purina PetCare pet food and Nestlé soluble coffee. Nestlé has also partnered with LOOP, a home-delivery service providing reusable packaging. First products will soon become available in France.