ZURICH (Reuters) – Nestle <NESN.S> has increased the share of recyclable or reusable packaging for its products to 87%, making progress toward its 100% goal by 2025, and gave examples of innovation to cut plastic waste in a media briefing on Monday.
Regularly cited by environmental groups such as Greenpeace as one of the top plastic polluters, the food giant has vowed to reduce its use of new plastics by a third by 2025 and spend up to 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.19 billion) to boost recycled plastics.
“Packaging plays an essential role in preserving the integrity and safety of our food. At the same time, plastic pollution continues to be a major issue around the world,” head of operations Magdi Batato told reporters in the virtual briefing.
“We have made bold commitments and we will deliver,” he said.
The Swiss-based company said it recently launched a refillable system for pet food in Chile allowing deliveries to consumers without extra packaging.
Plastic waste caused by takeaway food containers and online delivery packaging has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as more people ordered food and groceries online.
Eliminating packaging is one aspect of Nestle’s strategy, while another is replacing plastic with more sustainable materials.
Nestle, which is already selling KitKat chocolate bars in paper packaging, said its engineers had developed a new kind of recyclable paper to wrap Maggi bouillon cubes that will soon be launched in France.
Batato said it was difficult to give a goal for the usage of paper packaging as there was no one-size-fits-all solution for all products and geographies. Plastic is not going away, either.
“Plastic will remain a component of packaging,” he said.
(This story corrects first paragraph to show 87% of Nestle’s packaging is currently reusable and recyclable, and not 87% of its plastic packaging)
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)