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Nestlé creates market for food-grade recycled plastics, launches fund to boost packaging innovation

Nestlé declared that it will make investments up to CHF 2 billion to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to speed up the improvement of progressive sustainable packaging solutions.

Building on its 2018 commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, Nestlé will minimize its use of virgin plastics by one third in the same duration while working with others to enhance the circular economy and activity to clean up plastic waste from oceans, lakes and rivers.

Food quality and safety are paramount, and packaging plays a predominant role in assuring this. Most plastics are tough to recycle for food packaging, leading to a restricted supply of food-grade recycled plastics. To create a market, Nestlé is consequently dedicated 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. Nestlé will look for operational efficiencies to preserve this initiative income neutral.

Packaging innovation, which includes new materials, refill systems and recycling solutions, is another key venture on the course towards a waste-free future. In addition to its massive in-house research via the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, the company will launch a CHF 250 million sustainable packaging challenge fund to make investments in start-up companies that concentrate on these areas.

These two initiatives come in addition to Nestlé’s important ongoing efforts in research, sourcing and manufacturing to make its packaging recyclable or reusable and make contributions to its aim to reap zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As part of the company’s packaging dedication and to enlarge transparency, Nestlé will continue to define further initiatives and provide regular growth updates.

“No plastic must end up in landfill or as litter,” stated Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé. “Making recycled plastics safe for food is a tremendous venture for our industry. That is why in addition to minimizing plastics use and gathering waste, we desire to shut the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable. We are taking daring steps to create a wider market for food-grade recycled plastics and enhance innovation in the packaging industry. We welcome others to be a part of us on this journey.”

"We are delighted to see Nestlé commit a CHF 2 billion investment towards creating a circular economy for plastics, alongside a decrease of its use of virgin plastic in packaging by one third by 2025. By getting rid of the plastics we don’t need, innovating in areas like reuse models and new materials, and circulating the plastics we do need - also in more difficult food grade applications - we can create an economy where plastic never turns into waste. Achieving the commitments announced on January 19, 2020 will appreciably make contributions toward realizing this vision,” stated Andrew Morlet, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

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