Nestlé has announced its intention to invest 2bn Swiss francs (around US$2.07bn) in food-grade recycled plastics.
Developing promises made in 2018 to make its packaging either 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025, the company is working to phase out virgin plastics entirely and instead shift towards a circular economy business model.
Building the circular economy
Last week, CSO Magazine explored the circular economy and what its widespread adoption could mean for sustainable business:
At its core, the circular economy is an economic model that seeks to eliminate ‘one-use’ materials and methodology in the production of goods. Focusing on the ouroboric tenets of ‘make, use, reuse, remake, recycle, etc’, a company would focus on minimising resource inputs and therefore also waste, including carbon emissions. It is essentially business efficiency writ-large: each stage of production fuels another.
Nestlé’s intention to join this rapidly snowballing economic system is sure to give a boost to its proponents, as the endorsement of sector leaders like the Swiss multinational will doubtlessly ripple through the industry.
"We are pleased to see Nestlé commit a CHF 2bn investment toward creating a circular economy for plastics, alongside a reduction of its use of virgin plastic in packaging by one third by 2025,” commented Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Dedicated to eliminating industrial inputs, Morlet is confident that similar pledges from other companies will help achieve a zero waste vision of business.
Taking up the challenge
The executives at Nestlé are under no illusions as to the difficulty of its task; the company intends to source 2mn metric tonnes of food-grade recycled plastic and has also pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050.
“Making recycled plastics safe for food is an enormous challenge for our industry,” said Mark Schneider, CEO. “That is why in addition to minimizing plastics use and collecting waste, we want to close the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable.”
“We are taking bold steps to create a wider market for food-grade recycled plastics and boost innovation in the packaging industry. We welcome others to join us on this journey.”