Maintaining Plastic Neutrality: 18,000 Metric Tons and Counting

Eight months after first achieving plastic neutrality in August 2020, Nestlé Philippines with the help of its partners, has collected and processed 18,000 metric tons of plastic waste.
Kasambuhay for the Environment through Plastic Neutrality

“This means 18,000 metric tons of plastic waste did not end up in landfills or the oceans. Ensuring that waste does not end up in the environment is an immediate step we are taking. While doing so, we are continuously pushing a range of other efforts, including searching for sustainable packaging solutions and innovations,” said Nestlé Philippines Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki.

Attaining plastic neutrality means that Nestlé Philippines is recovering the same amount of plastic generated from its packaging through waste management.

With its partners, Nestlé Philippines is collecting plastic waste from local government units and communities in Luzon and the Visayas. The waste is co-processes in a cement kiln, a waste management method by which waste materials are processed at a very high temperature. This breaks down complex materials into simpler compounds and the energy or mineral content of wastes are completely recovered and utilized in the process of producing cement. Emissions from the process are filtered and monitored in compliance with standards of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Since plastic waste is converted to energy during the process, co-processing diverts wastes from landfills, waterways and oceans. Co-processing as a method of waste material disposal is practiced in other parts of the world. It is internationally accepted and authorized by local environmental laws and regulations.

Nestlé Philippines is the first multinational fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company in the country to become plastic neutral. In order to achieve plastic neutrality, Nestlé Philippines expanded its collaboration with other stakeholders, applied key lessons learned from its pilot programs, and allocated the appropriate resources. With the help of partners who share its vision of a waste-free future, such as Republic Cement, CEMEX Holdings Philippines, and Plastic Credit Exchange, the company commits to maintain its plastic neutral status by collecting and co-processing plastic waste equivalent to the amount of plastic it generates in the market each month.

Our neutrality commitment forms part of a bigger commitment we have for the environment. In January 2019, 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. Nestlé, as the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturer, is committed to making its packaging, including plastics, 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025. Additionaly, Nestle has commited to reduce the use of virgin plastics by 1/3 by 2025. In pursuing this commitment, Nestlé is taking a holistic approach towards the complex and urgent issue of plastic waste, accelerating 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.

Globally and locally, Nestlé is committed to taking a leadership role in tackling the plastic waste challenge.

“Beyond achieving plastic neutrality, which is one part of our journey towards a waste-free future, we are advocating that all producers and importers must assume responsibility over post-consumer plastic waste within the framework of a 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-consumption stage of the product’s life cycle. Nestlé Philippines supports legislation for the development and implementation of an affordable and effective EPR mechanism for plastic waste.

“We need to work with other stakeholders to accelerate our journey to a waste-free future, especially in tackling plastic waste as an urgent challenge that we must address as a society,“ he said.