At Nestlé, we know that the way we package your favorite foods and beverages is a key part of our ambition to leave the world better than we found it. The food industry has a challenge ahead of us — we’ve got to make sure the way we package food keeps it fresh and safe, and we’ve got to innovate new and more sustainable ways to do so.
To meet this challenge we’re designing our packaging to use less materials, leveraging reusable and refillable systems, and testing alternative materials to improve recyclability. In 2020, we announced that we’re investing $2 billion to lead a shift from newly created virgin plastics to recycled and reused food grade plastics, and that we were launching a $250 million sustainable packaging venture fund to invest in start-up companies doing great work in that space.
By 2025, our ambition is to ensure 100% of our packaging is recyclable or reusable.
So how does our work impact what you see on grocery store shelves?? Where can you find signs of this innovation in action? Here are a few of our brands that are driving innovation and progress towards our goals.
Packaging Game Changer: Using less packaging to begin with
How it works: If you’ve bought a DiGiorno pizza recently, have you noticed a part of our packaging has been removed from some of our pizza options? We’ve removed the flat circle base from underneath the pizza in several flavors in our Rising Crust line. Those bases helped prevent pizzas from breaking as we made them, but we switched up our process so we could protect the quality of your pizza and reduce packaging at the same time.
Why it matters: Using less packaging in our products means relying on fewer natural resources. Where we can, we invest in ways to cut down on our packaging before it makes its way to you, so you know you’re getting the most efficient, sustainable packaging.
By the Numbers: This update saved 4.5 million pounds of corrugated paper from DiGiorno packaging.
Impact: By saving this much cardboard, it’s the equivalent of saving 49,000 trees a year.
Starbucks by Nespresso
Packaging Game Changer: Infinitely recyclable material
How it works: Nespresso has made it as easy as possible to recycle used coffee capsules across the continental U.S. — whether using pre-paid UPS recycling bags or drop-off recycling points across the country. They’ve also gone a step further — committing $1.2 million in 2019 to make curbside recycling available in New York City.
Why it matters: You want your coffee to taste great, and be good for the environment too. Nespresso identified aluminum as the best material to ensure you get the freshest cup every time. It’s also 100% and infinitely recyclable, and recycling it requires up to 95% less energy to recycle than to produce new metal materials. This means that when you send back your capsules, we can turn them into drink cans, bicycles, or new capsules.
By the numbers: 100% recyclable capsules get recycled through 88,000 UPS drop-off points and 500 capsule collection points across the U.S.
Impact: A circular system that helps reduce packaging entering landfill.
Packaging Game Changer: (Easy) Recyclability
How it works: Our Starbucks Creamers come in a bottle we custom-designed to make it as simple as possible to recycle. The shrink wrap labels are made using recycling-compatible inks and materials, which means every bit of plastic in the packaging can be recycled, and the recycled plastic is easier for a recycler to sell for reuse. You can just discard the whole container in a curbside recycling bin without having to separate the package or look for where to dispose each piece.
Why it matters: We know people are confused about what materials are recyclable, which leads to less recycling overall. In addition to not knowing if a shrink wrap is recyclable (check for a How2Recycle icon) or if they should replace the water bottle cap before recycling (please do!), any packaging that involves an extra step to break down can create a barrier to recycling. We recognize that to make packaging more sustainable, we’ve got to keep things simple.
By the Numbers: 100% of the bottle is recyclable.
Impact: Designing a package so that it can be dropped in the recycling bin is essential to help people take action. The more plastic that gets recycled, the more packaging we can create with recycled material.
There’s always more we can do to help create a waste-free future and make our packaging as sustainable as possible. Our teams are innovating every day, and challenging themselves to meet our recyclability and sustainability goals.
As we do the work, we’ll continue checking in to let you know our progress.