Nestlé confirms investment of CHF 2 billion into recycled plastics for packaging

Global food and beverage group Nestlé is to make an investment of CHF 2 billion aimed at moving from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics in response to demand for increasing the pace of delivering sustainable packaging solutions.

Following a pledge two years ago to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, the company will reduce its use of virgin plastics by one third in the same period while working with others to advance the circular economy and endeavour to clean up plastic waste from oceans, lakes and rivers.

The firm’s move comes as it has been recognised by global environmental impact non-profit CDP’s ‘A List’ for climate change, based on the company’s climate reporting in 2019. It gained its latest rating in relation to its actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy. The company remains active in a number of product areas, including confectionery, such as its flagship KitKat brand.

As Nestlé noted, food quality and safety are paramount, and packaging plays a major role in assuring this. 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 two 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 seek operational efficiencies to keep this initiative earnings neutral.

Packaging innovation, including new materials, refill systems and recycling solutions, is another key challenge on the path towards a waste-free future. In addition to its significant inhouse research through the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, the company will launch a CHF 250 million sustainable packaging venture fund to invest in start-up companies that focus on these areas.

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