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Recovering plastic waste equivalent to its plastic packaging in August

In January 2019, food and beverage manufacturer Nestlé globally articulated its broader vision for a waste-free future, that none of its packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfills and oceans, or as litter.

Today, just over a year and a half later, Nestlé Philippines Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki announced that the company has reached its latest milestone in pursuit of that vision by achieving plastic neutrality for the month of August.

Plastic collection in Bignay, Valenzuela for the May Balik sa Plastic Program

“As an urgent initiative, Nestlé Philippines has succeeded in collecting and diverting from landfills and oceans the amount of plastic equivalent to what we generated from our packaging last August, thus making us plastic neutral” Mr. Marzouki said. In that month, the company recovered 2,400 MT of plastic waste.

“Nestlé Philippines is the first multinational fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company in the country to attain plastic neutrality, as of August, and we commit to do so every month, ” the CEO said. The company manufactures brands including BEAR BRAND, MILO, NESCAFE, COFFEE MATE, MAGGI, NIDO, and CHUCKIE.

The leakage of plastics into the oceans has become a pressing issue and in a major measure to address it, the company aims to recover the same amount of plastic packaging that it generates every month.

Nestlé Philippines has expanded its collaboration with other stakeholders, applied key lessons learned from its pilot programs, and allocated appropriate resources. With the help of partners who share its vision of a waste-free future, the company commits to maintain neutrality.

The plastic waste collected is co-processed in cement kilns. Co-processing is a waste management method by which waste materials are processed at a very high temperature and used as alternative fuel. It is authorized by local environmental laws and regulations.

Accelerating the journey with its firsts

As the world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestlé is committed to taking a leadership role in tackling the plastic waste challenge.

Globally, the company is committed to making its packaging, including plastics, 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025. In pursuing this commitment, Nestlé is taking a holistic approach to address the complex and urgent issue of plastic waste. Nestlé is accelerating its initiatives across three focus areas: (1) developing the packaging for the future, through packaging and delivery innovation and plastic reduction; (2) helping to shape a waste-free future through increased collection and recycling; and (3) driving new behaviors and understanding through solid waste management education.

Under the three focus areas, Mr. Marzouki cited first-ever accomplishments of Nestlé Philippines in tackling plastic waste:

  • The country’s first food and beverage company to shift to paper straws. Nestlé Philippines is identifying alternative materials to make its packaging more sustainable. An equally important milestone is its full transition to the use of paper straws in its locally manufactured ready-to-drink or RTD products that will eliminate the use 130 MT of plastic straws by end of year;
  • The country’s first citywide soft plastic waste collection project. In June 2019, Nestlé Philippines piloted May Balik! Sa Plastik! (MBSP), which recovered post-consumer sachets, used beverage cartons, and other soft plastics, in partnership with Valenzuela City. In a significant achievement, the project successfully put a tangible value to soft plastic waste, which previously had no worth;
  • The country’s first solid waste management (SWM) education modules to be rolled out in over 10,000 public schools nationwide. Information, education and communication on solid waste management are important in achieving the goal of a waste-free future. Thus, Nestlé Philippines has developed SWM modules integrated into its Nestlé Wellness Campus program. The modules can be used by Grades 1 to 10 students.

In other initiatives, Nestlé Philippines has started to shift its plastic packaging to materials designed for recycling, piloted refilling stations, and is upcycling waste plastic laminates into school chairs.

Supporting effective EPR mechanisms

“Achieving plastic neutrality is only one step, and only one part of our journey to achieve a waste-free future. We believe that in order to build a system that seeks to eliminate waste and enable continuous use of resources, all plastic producers and importers must assume responsibility over post-consumer waste within the comprehensive framework of a mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme,” Mr. Marzouki said. EPR is the environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. Nestlé Philippines supports the design and implementation of affordable and effective EPR mechanisms.

“Together with other stakeholders, we continue to accelerate our journey to a waste-free future as we tackle the plastic waste challenge, mindful of its urgency,” he concluded.