Nestlé Waters is encouraging a wasteful, throw-away culture
by producing plastic bottles.
Bottled water containers make up less than
1% of municipal waste.4;
But we all need to do more to make sure ALL plastic containers are recycled – from detergent containers to peanut butter jars to beverage bottles.
We’re investing in recycling infrastructure projects and community recycling programs across the U.S.
Unfortunately, less than 30% of plastic bottles are currently recycled5 and only 9% of all plastic is recycled in the U.S6. Nestlé Waters North America supports recycling infrastructure through investments and partnerships with organizations like the Closed Loop Fund and The Recycling Partnership to help increase recycling capabilities and improve access across the U.S.
In fact, we have invested $6 million in Closed Loop Fund, a $100 million social impact investment fund committed to finding a national solution to the critical recycling gap in the U.S. The Closed Loop Fund has diverted more than 110,000 tons of recyclable plastics, and the funded projects are poised to divert 4 million tons by 2025.
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 cardboard 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.
We design all of our bottles to be 100% recyclable.
PET plastic, which we use to make most of our bottles at Nestlé Waters North America, was never meant to be thrown away. It was designed to be captured, recycled, and reused again and again.
We’re leading the industry in our use of recycled plastic.
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.
Nestlé Waters North America is on track to nearly quadruple its use of recycled plastic, or rPET, across our U.S. 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.
We aim to inspire consumers to recycle more.
Nestlé Waters North America was the first beverage company to add How2Recycle® information on our labels. These labels, added to all of our major U.S. brands, include a reminder for consumers to empty the bottle and replace the cap before recycling.
In 2019, we started to include the How2Recycle label on the plastic overwrap used for our cases. The label instructs consumers to ensure the wrap is clean and dry, and then dropped off at a location participating in the Wrap Recycling Action Program, a national public awareness and outreach initiative designed to make plastic film a commonly recycled material.
We also educate consumers about the impact they can make by recycling, while preventing valuable PET plastic materials from being discarded. In August 2019, we launched the #NotTrash Instagram recycling hotline with The Recycling Partnership to inspire more Americans to recycle more, better, and help improve curbside access to recycling.
We’re always exploring innovative packaging.
Nestlé Waters North America and parent company Nestlé S.A. have been determined to explore multiple ways to help solve the plastic waste challenge and we are embracing multiple solutions that can have an impact now. In January 2019, 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 solutions, 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 Maine, Michigan and Florida, 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.
We support legislation that aims to achieve a waste-free future.
Laws and regulations play an important role in achieving a circular economy and we support public policy solutions that increase the collection, processing, and re-use of all beverage containers. This includes supporting funding for necessary investments in deposit and curbside collection programs, as well as investments to improve the quality of recycled material processed through these programs.
We strongly support the increased use of recycled content and have demonstrated unparalleled industry leadership in its use. We also advocate for policies that stimulate infrastructure investment and long-term supply contracting to enhance and bring supply and price stability to recycled content markets. We recently supported the passage of California Assembly Bill 792, which will require beverage manufacturers to use 10% recycled plastic in their containers sold in California starting on January 1, 2021 and will increase that requirement over time to 50% by January 1, 2030.
4 Environmental Protection Agency (2015)
5The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) 2017
6Environmental Protection Agency (2015)