Innovations in bottled water packaging

Country : United States

Impact Area

  • Nutrition
  • Water
  • Rural Development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Compliance
  • Community engagement
Sep 17, 2012, updated September 2012

Background

Innovations in bottled water packaging

Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) continues to invest in improving its environmental performance, with the objective of having the industry’s lightest environmental footprint per unit of product. One priority is the bottle itself, and the company has made progress in reducing the bottle’s environmental footprint by introducing innovative, lighterweight packaging. The carbon embedded in the purchased PET resin for the bottle accounted for 55% of NWNA’s greenhouse gas emissions, so in the fifteen years to 2007, NWNA reduced the amount of PET plastic in its bottles by 40%.

The EcoShape bottle, launched in 2007, achieved a further 14% reduction in plastic used, and weighs only 12.5 grams on average. It remains the lightest branded half-litre bottle on the US market. We estimate that it will save more than 88 million kilograms of resin and help avoid more than 356 000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions from its launch to the end of 2009. The company plans to reduce plastic in its half-litre bottles by an additional 15% by 2010. In addition, since 1994, NWNA has manufactured 98% of its PET packaging in its plants, saving the energy required to ship 160 000 truckloads of empty bottles to its sites.

This investment in packaging technology is backed up by a commitment to recycling. The returnable bottles for its US Direct-to-Home & Office business get used thirty-five times. When their useful life is up, the majority are recycled into products such as lawn furniture, synthetic lumber and outdoor sheds. In terms of public recycling, the USA only have about a 25% plastic recycle rate and about half of Americans have access to kerbside recycling. A lot is about education and changing habits. NWNA is advancing the goal of a minimum 60% recycling rate for PET beverage bottles by 2018 through partnerships, coalition-building, consumer education, improved kerbside recycling programmes and policy initiatives.

Programme description

Value to Society

Value to Nestlé

Next Steps

UN Millenium Development Goal

  • 1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • 2 Achieve universal primary education
  • 3 Promote gender equality and empower women
  • 4 Reduce child mortality
  • 5 Improve maternal health
  • 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • 7 Ensure environmental sustainability
  • 8 Develop global partnerships