Nestlé set to remove 83 tonnes of packaging from UK confectionery sharing bags

A key sustainability drive from Nestlé’s UK and Irish operations has seen a redesign of its confectionery sharing bags delivering a 15% cut in packaging, removing at least 83 tonnes of plastic taken out of its annual supply chain, reports Neill Barston.

It follows the company’s announcement in January that it would be switching production of its Smarties ranges into recyclable paper-based packaging in its global production, eliminating 250 million plastic packs each year.

From next month, some of Britain’s favourite treats, including Milkybar, Aero Bubbles, Munchies, Rolo, Yorkie, and Rowntree’s Randoms will come in new narrower pouches.

Nestlé sells approximately 140 million confectionery sharing bags in the UK and Ireland every year; this change will save almost 1 million square metres of packaging – equivalent in area to 131 football pitches, as well as significant  CO2 emissions savings.

Cheryl Allen, Head of Sustainability for Nestlé Confectionery said: “Nestlé is working hard to reduce its use of virgin plastic by one third by 2025. Removing 15 per cent of the packaging from our sharing bags is an important step towards this goal. The move will not only save on the amount of virgin plastic we use each year, it will have significant benefits throughout our supply chain in the UK and Ireland.

“For example, we can now pack more sharing bags at a time, which means fewer lorries are needed to transport them. In total, we will be able to take the equivalent of 331 lorries off UK roads every year, saving 71472 road miles and 130 tonnes of COemissions.

Furthermore, as well as reducing packaging volumes, Nestlé revealed that it is also making it easier to recycle plastic wrappers which are not currently collected at kerbside.

Its partnership with TerraCycle gives consumers the ability to recycle confectionery wrappers now, while changes in technology and infrastructure are being worked on. Flexible plastic packaging can be dropped off at around 300 TerraCycle recycling points across the UK and Ireland.  The waste is sent to a specialist recycler, where it is turned into plastic pellets that can be used to manufacture new products such as outdoor furniture  and storage boxes, meaning that wrappers recycled this way won’t end up as landfill or litter in the environment.

Nestlé has also joined the Flexible Packaging Consortium with Ella’s Kitchen, Mars and Taylors of Harrogate, working with waste and recycling experts SUEZ. The consortium recently released a new report providing recommendations to increase flexible packaging recycling in the UK.

Other initiatives being undertaken by the business to make its entire packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 include investing up to £1.6 billion globally to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of sustainable packaging solutions, as well as signing up to the European Plastics Pact, which it believes will be a significant boost to its campaign.

In addition, the business has created an Institute of Packaging Sciences to evaluate and develop various sustainable packaging materials and to collaborate with industrial partners to develop new packaging materials and solutions.


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