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Nestle to invest 2bn Swiss francs in shift to recyclable plastics

By Philip Smith

Food firm bemoans ‘dearth’ in recycled plastics for food industry

Food giant Nestle has said it will ensure all of its packaging is made from recyclable or reusable plastics by 2025 and has pledged to invest 2bn Swiss francs (£1.58bn, $2.07bn, €1.85bn) into the programme. It said it would reduce its use of new plastics by one third in the same period.

Of that initial sum, the maker of Aero, Häagen-Dazs and Cheerios will use at least 1.5bn Swiss francs (CHF) to cover the extra cost of using food-grade – or non-toxic – recycled plastics.

The food firm said there is a dearth of recycled plastics suitable for food packaging because it is more difficult to make. Part of its campaign is to push the re-use plastics sector to research further into manufacturing such non-toxic packaging. It is also to set up a £250m CHF fund to help develop food standard packaging technology.

It’s as much a PR as a business decision. The food industry is regularly blamed for polluting oceans and landfills because of the amount of plastic it uses in packaging. Consumers and the environmental lobby have been highly critical of businesses such as Nestle and many of the global players are starting to respond. Nestle has already said it is to test refill stations for products such as laundry detergent and shampoo.

It also created a packaging research site near Lausanne, Switzerland in September 2019 to develop more eco-aware packaging such as fully biodegradable paper-based water bottles. “Companies will have to back up words with real investments,” said Patrik Schwendimann, an analyst at Swiss bank Zuercher Kantonalbank. “The whole industry will face higher costs, with spending on green solutions a new factor to consider.”

FURTHER READING: The war against plastic could be a boon for investors

FURTHER READING: Consumer brands struggling to eliminate plastic pollution

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