Australia’s largest food manufacturer Nestlé has thrown its weight behind the circular economy movement with a massive commitment to cut back on the use of virgin plastic for packaging and to use recycled materials in its products.
The Swiss company, which operates six large factories in Australia, has committed $2.5 billion globally to cover the extra cost of utilising recycled food-grade plastic in its food wrappers and allocated more than $375 million to new packaging ventures.
Its commitment will create a market for food-grade recycled plastic, which is difficult to produce and in limited supply.
In 2018 Nestlé committed to make 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, and will now aim to cut its use of virgin plastics by a third in the same time frame.
It also has a global of zero net greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.
The company said in a statement: “Nestlé is therefore committed to sourcing up to two million metric tons of food-grade recycled plastics and allocating more than CHF 1.5 billion to pay a premium for these materials between now and 2025.
“Nestlé will seek operational efficiencies to keep this initiative earnings neutral.”
The company’s sustainable packaging venture fund will invest in start-up companies that focus on new packaging materials and systems.
Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said: “No plastic should end up in landfill or as litter.
“In addition to minimising plastics use and collecting waste, we want to close the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable.
“We are taking bold steps to create a wider market for food-grade recycled plastics and boost innovation in the packaging industry.”
Nestle’s Australian factories in Tongala, Broadford, Cambellfield, Gympie, Smithtown and Wahgunyah produce a wide range of prepared foods, sweets and chocolates, instant coffee, and milk and oat-based products.
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