Sustainable Resource Management
Like many Floridians, Nestlé Waters North America cares about Florida’s waterways. Spring water is a renewable resource when managed correctly. We have a robust, sustainable water management process in place, from our careful selection of spring sources, to regular monitoring and data analysis of the water sources and surrounding environment. This helps to maintain the health and long-term sustainability of the springs and connected surface and groundwater supplies, including nearby wells.
Protecting Florida’s Water Sources
At Nestlé Waters, we take a comprehensive approach to managing the water resources we use. We employ natural resource managers, as well as a team of trained hydrogeologists, engineers and environmental scientists whose focus is to help ensure the long-term sustainability of water sources.
This team’s diligent monitoring and careful water management has worked. For the past 15 years, our Lee facility in Madison County has sustainably managed withdrawals relative to Madison Blue Springs and flow in the Withlacoochee River. Our Zephyrhills facility in Pasco County has more than 30 years of sustainable management between Crystal Springs and the Hillsborough River. The data collected at these two facilities on withdrawal rates and aquifer levels help demonstrate the successful long-term management of water resources.
Minimizing the Impact of our Packaging
At Nestlé Waters, we are committed to minimizing the overall environmental footprint of our packaging. Nestlé Waters pioneered the lightweight bottle, and we have continued to reduce the material used in our packaging. Since 1990, we have reduced the plastic content of our half-liter bottles by more than 60%. Light weighting – reducing the amount of plastic resin – saves energy and reduces our carbon footprint. Over the last few years, we have explored opportunities in what we call “barefoot packaging,” which means eliminating the need for a cardboard carton on the bottom of the case. We have also eliminated the pull tab from our sport bottles and made our bottle labels 35% smaller as part of our efforts to remove unnecessary material out of our caps and labels.
Leading the Way in Using Recycled Content
We design all of our bottles to be 100% recyclable. PET plastic, which Nestlé Waters uses to make most of our bottles, was never meant to be thrown away. It was designed to be captured, recycled, and reused again and again, and we are leading the industry in our use of recycled plastic. We are on track to nearly quadruple our use of recycled plastic, or rPET, across our domestic portfolio in less than 3 years. By 2021, we will reach 25% recycled plastic across our U.S. domestic portfolio, and we plan to reach 50% rPET across that same portfolio by 2025.
With the launch of 900-ml bottles of Poland Spring ORIGIN in April 2019 and our Nestlé Pure Life 700-ml bottle (launched in February 2018), we now have two of the only major, nationally distributed bottled waters on the market to be made using 100% recycled plastic. In fact, the Nestlé Pure Life 700-ml bottle won the Institute of Scrap Recycling (ISRI) Design for Recycling (DFR) Award in April 2019.
New approaches to packaging
Nestlé Waters and parent company Nestlé S.A. are exploring multiple ways to help solve the plastic waste challenge, and we are embracing a variety of solutions that can have an impact now. In January, Nestlé S.A. and Danimer Scientific announced a global partnership to develop biodegradable bottles. In August 2019, the company established the first Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences to explore new, paper-based materials and biodegradable/compostable polymers that are also recyclable.
We’re also thinking beyond the bottle. In addition to exploring innovative packaging, we are trying to find new technologies and delivery systems that will help us achieve zero environmental impact. Currently, our ReadyRefresh five-gallon containers are returned, washed and refilled an average of 35 times before they are recycled. Our Hydration Stations travel to local community festivals, primarily in Florida, Maine, and Michigan, to dispense free water refills for attendees.
We have a variety of other projects in development. For example, Refill+, which has a launch planned for 2020, is an innovative dispensing system based on refillable bottles, offering a further building block to contribute to a waste-free future. The system will allow consumers to access healthy hydration with high quality filtered water that can be customized with flavors, carbonation and other exciting enhancers.