What is Nestlé doing to tackle plastic packaging waste?
Environmental Toll Of Plastics In Our Environment: The issue of packaging waste, especially plastic waste, is of particular public interest. However, the packaging is necessary for food safety and quality, protecting food during transport, extending its shelf life, and reducing food waste. This makes food and beverage packaging a unique challenge for Nestlé and our industry. it is necessary to develop solutions that reduce packaging volume and impact without compromising on protection. We envision a future without waste, which means increasing plastic recycling and finding alternatives, whether in the form of dispensing systems or materials.
Tearfund's report “the burning question” highlights the ongoing challenges we face as a society in addressing packaging and plastic waste. Nestlé is committed to exploring every option to solve the complex challenges of packaging waste. We are committed to multiple solutions that can already have an impact on our consumers and communities. The vision is that none of our packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfills or oceans, lakes, and rivers. To achieve this, we have committed to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
The ten corporations that produce the most plastic on the planet, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Mars, Incorporated, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Pepsico, Perfetti van Melle, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, have formed a well-funded network that has sabotaged government and community efforts to address the plastic pollution crisis for decades, according to a detailed investigative report by the Changing Markets Foundation. The investigation documents how these companies delay and derail legislation to continue to flood consumers with single-use plastic packaging.
Traditionally, their products' viable recyclability has not necessarily been the priority of brands (something MRF operators often grumble about) but rather cost and appearance. Also, single-use plastics have been driven by consumer preference. Particularly for food packaging, they have several positive environmental benefits, including a potentially lower overall environmental impact when the whole life cycle is considered. But that's a whole different discussion. Numerous companies have announced targets to reduce plastic waste and packaging or use more recycled material in their products, including Aldi, Starbucks, Walmart and nestlé, to name a few.
The environmental impact of plastics
For many, plastic is a modern marvel: versatile, cost-effective to produce, and long-lasting. To others, it is a problem: a ubiquitous, non-degradable pollutant that threatens to choke the global environment. The world consumes more than 100 million tonnes of plastic annually but recycles less than 5 percent of it. The rest – plastic bags, water bottles, disposable lighters, takeaway food packaging, and the like – ends up in the world's oceans and on its coasts. Plastic waste also clogs sewers and causes deadly floods, suffocates animals, and contaminates fish with toxic chemicals, which can be dangerous for people who eat the fish.
Redesign, rethink and recycle our packaging.
Many companies are rethinking the design and lifecycle of their plastic products at the business model level and applying the circular model. Shopping platform Loop, for example, is rethinking food and product packaging. The company is pushing the development and use of reusable, returnable packaging of well-known brands; for example, you can buy Haagen-Dazs ice cream in stainless steel containers and Dove deodorant in glass tubes.
Why is the plastic used for your packaging?
Since the development of plastic at the beginning of this century, it has become a popular material used in many different ways. Today, many of the items we buy or use are made of or wrapped in plastic. Problems arise when we no longer want these items, and we have to dispose of them, especially the disposable plastic used for wrapping or packaging.
We have pledged $20 million to support the G7 Innovation Competition to address plastic litter in the ocean. It will incentivize the development of innovative social or technological solutions to manage plastics more sustainably throughout their lifecycle. In support of the g7 innovation challenge, we are investing in innovative Canadian technologies to help small companies across the country find new ways to reduce plastic waste and turn it into valuable resources that support a circular economy. So far, seven Challenges have been launched to provide over $10 million to 18 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses.
The authors said that plastics when produced and used responsibly, can help solve some environmental problems. A study found that packaging beverages in pet (a type of plastic) reduced energy consumption by 52 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent compared to glass or metal. Also, solar water heaters containing plastics can provide up to two-thirds of a household's annual hot water needs, reducing energy consumption.
ExxonMobil is developing innovative products that help society reduce plastic waste by meeting consumer performance needs with less material, developing new materials for packaging that are easier to recycle, and enabling customers to increase their recycled content. For example, our vistamaxx™ performance polymers increase our customers' ability to use recycled materials while improving toughness and tear strength. Our products can be used to make all-polyethylene laminate bags that are easier to recycle and can replace hard-to-recycle traditional multilayer packaging in non-food applications such as laundry detergent and dishwashing pods while maintaining the benefits of packaging performance.
How much plastic packaging did Nestlé use in 2019?
Indonesia is one of the Southeast Asian countries taking action against marine plastic pollution. In January 2019, Nestlé became the first food company to join Project Stop, a community initiative launched in 2017. The project's main goal is to prevent packaging waste from entering the environment by increasing local recycling efforts. By 2020, the project stop aims to prevent 2000 tonnes from entering the sea each year.
Nestlé's total plastic packaging consumption (including laminates with different material combinations) was 1.5 million tonnes in 2019. This represents one-third of all packaging used in our shops.
In 2018, 359 million tonnes of plastic were produced globally.
Only a tiny percentage of recycled bottles are used to make new bottles. Coca-Cola sources only 20% of its packaging from recycled material, while Nestlé Waters North America uses just over 16% recycled content.
According to the American chemistry council, more than 60% of Americans have access to various plastic recycling programs.
We will be investing in developing and sourcing a wider range of food-grade recycled plastics. Also, we will increase our target to use recycled content in our water bottles to 50% by 2025. Together with our continued efforts to introduce alternative packaging materials and new delivery models, these two measures will help Nestlé reduce the use of virgin plastics by a third by 2025.
How is Nestlé reducing its plastic usage?
If you're like most people, it's difficult to get through the day without acquiring some form of plastic! This is where reuse comes into play. Once the plastic is in your possession, it's your chance to be creative and find different uses for it. Use plastic bags for sandwiches, plastic bags for small rubbish bags, and reuse your plastic cutlery! If you can't find a use for something, donate it! By doing so, you not only reduce waste but also help others. Most people skip this step and go straight to recycling, but reusing plastics can reduce the demand for new plastics to be manufactured.
We support the design and implementation of affordable and effective mandatory extended producer responsibility programs and are actively engaged in many markets. We have identified 20 countries 1 that account for more than 50% of our plastic consumption and where we will first work to improve recycling rates and infrastructure. This is likely to be a long-term task. In the meantime, we have identified a number of countries that are important to Nestlé and where waste is currently escaping into the oceans. These 12 countries account for more than 10% of Nestlé's plastic consumption.
Research into the global production of plastics and the associated pollution has shown that plastic waste is a major environmental problem. The impact of plastic waste on marine organisms, humans, and the environment, in general, is of public concern and requires saving ecosystems and the life within them. Despite the fact that plastics are very useful in daily life, the toxic chemicals used in their manufacture need to be thoroughly monitored to ensure environmental and health safety. Reducing the population's exposure to toxins from plastic waste increases the chances of a clean environment and a healthy society.
How do you eliminate non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle plastics?
We eliminate unnecessary packaging and exclude materials that are not recyclable or difficult to recycle. We are also investing more in the development of single-material packaging and alternative materials such as paper and bio-based plastics and new refill/reuse systems.
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Plastics have value throughout their life cycle, including at the end of their life. Traditional and advanced recycling methods are needed to help society maximize the value derived from plastic waste, but there are some limitations to traditional recycling as it is currently configured. Traditional mechanical recycling – shredding discarded plastic and melting it together with new plastic – is an efficient approach when the waste is well sorted and for waste products predominantly one type of plastic. But every time plastic is recycled via traditional processes, and it loses some of its performance benefits.
Globally, plastic production was estimated at 380 million tonnes in 2018. From 1950 to 2018, approximately 6.3 billion tonnes of plastics have been produced globally, of which 9% and 12% were recycled and incinerated, respectively. In the UK alone, about 5 million tonnes of plastics are consumed annually, of which only about a quarter are recycled and the rest landfilled. Researchers suggest that by 2050 the oceans could contain more plastics by weight than fish. About 500 billion plastic bags are used incredibly annually, of which an estimated 13 million tonnes end up in the ocean, killing about 100,000 marine animals.
EPA measures the generation, recycling, composting, incineration with energy recovery, and landfilling plastics in municipal waste. The primary data source for plastics generation is the American Chemistry Council. In 2018, the plastics generation was 35—7million tonnes in the united states, representing 12. 2 percent of MSW generation. Epa used data from the American chemistry council and the national association for pet container resources to measure plastics' recycling. While the total amount of plastics recycled is relatively small – three million tonnes for 8.
Canada is a driving action within the federal government and taking practical steps to manage plastics' use and disposal within our own operations. In 2018, we set targets to also:
Reroute at least 75% of plastic waste from federal operations by 2030. Eliminate the not always necessary use of single-use plastic in organizations, meetings, and events and also purchase more sustainable plastic products that can be reused, recycled, repaired, or repurposed.