It's the final straw for plastics, says Nestle

ZURICH • Nestle will, from next month, start to drop plastic straws from its products and is working on biodegradable water bottles in a drive to reduce plastic waste.

The steps, announced on Tuesday, are part of a campaign launched last year by firms including the Swiss group, the world's biggest packaged food company, to make all packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

They come amid a global crackdown on throw-away plastic items that can languish for years in oceans and landfills.

From next month, Nestle will start using alternative materials such as paper and adopt designs to replace plastic straws and reduce litter.

Also, the company's bottled water unit, Nestle Waters, will increase the recycled PET, a type of plastic, content in its bottles to 35 per cent by 2025 globally and reach 50 per cent in the United States, with a specific focus on its Poland Spring brand.

It is also raising the recycled PET content for some European water brands to half by 2025.

The Swiss group is developing new paper-based materials and biodegradable polymers that are also recyclable.

"This could become a valuable option in places where recycling infrastructure does not yet exist and will not be available for some time," it said in a statement.

From next month, Nestle will start using alternative materials such as paper and adopt designs to replace plastic straws and reduce litter.

Nestle said it is collaborating with the US-based Danimer Scientific to develop a marine biodegradable and recyclable bottle for its water business, and with PureCycle Technologies to produce food-grade recycled polypropylene, a polymer used for packing food in trays, tubs, cups and bottles.

Mr Magdi Batato, Nestle's global head of operations, said the company is still assessing the potential impact on products' shelf life and manufacturing costs.

"Some of those alternative solutions are even cheaper, some of them are cost neutral and indeed some of them are more expensive," he told reporters on a call.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2019, with the headline 'It's the final straw for plastics, says Nestle'. Print Edition | Subscribe