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Nestlé, one of the world's largest providers of single use plastic bottles, says it is launching a new campaign to reduce the amount of plastic it contributes to the environment every year. Greenpeace says the new policy amounts to nothing more than greenwashing.

Policy & Politics

Greenpeace Pooh-Poohs Nestlé’s Announcement On Plastic

Nestlé, one of the world’s largest providers of single use plastic bottles, says it is launching a new campaign to reduce the amount of plastic it contributes to the environment every year. Greenpeace says the new policy amounts to nothing more than greenwashing.

Swiss company Nestlé is one of the largest providers of beverages in single-use plastic bottles in the world. On April 10, it released an important new policy statement about how it plans to address the scourge of plastic debris, much of which ends up in the oceans.

Neslte single use plastic

Credit: Greenpeace

“Nestlé today announced its ambition to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or re-usable by 2025. Its vision is that none of its packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfill or as litter. Nestlé believes that there is an urgent need to minimize the impact of packaging on the environment.

“Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said, ‘Plastic waste is one of the biggest sustainability issues the world is facing today. Tackling it requires a collective approach. We are committed to finding improved solutions to reduce, re-use and recycle. Our ambition is to achieve 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.’

“The company focuses on three core areas: eliminate non-recyclable plastics; encourage the use of plastics that allow better recycling rates; and eliminate or change complex combinations of packaging materials. Recognizing the need for developing a circular economy, Nestlé is committed to:

  • Playing an active role in the development of well-functioning collection, sorting and recycling schemes across the countries where we operate.
  • Working with value chain partners and industry associations to explore different packaging solutions to reduce plastic usage, facilitate recycling and develop new approaches to eliminate plastic waste.
  • Labeling our plastic product packaging with recycling information to help consumers dispose of it in the right way.
  • Promoting a market for recycled plastics by continuing to increase the proportion of recycled plastics in our packaging.
  • Preventing packaging material ending up as waste, including in seas, oceans and waterways is one of the key reasons behind Nestlé’s pledge.

That all sounds promising, doesn’t it? Not according to Greenpeace. Its Oceans Campaigner, Graham Forbes, says in a press statement,

“Nestlé’s statement on plastic packaging includes more of the same greenwashing baby steps to tackle a crisis it helped to create. It will not actually move the needle toward the reduction of single-use plastics in a meaningful way, and sets an incredibly low standard as the largest food and beverage company in the world. The statement is full of ambiguous or nonexistent targets, relies on ‘ambitions’ to do better, and puts the responsibility on consumers rather than the company to clean up its own plastic pollution.

“A company of Nestlé’s size should be setting a strong standard to actually move toward the reduction — and eventual phasing out — of throwaway plastics. It should know by now that recycling efforts are not going to clean up our oceans, waterways, and communities. On the contrary, the company’s business as usual will only accelerate plastic pollution.”

single use plastic

Credit: Greenpeace

Last year, an ocean cleanup campaign in the Philippines found Nestlé products were the largest contributor to ocean trash, followed closely by Unilever and Proctor & Gamble. Greenpeace says Nestlé containers are consistently near the top of all ocean plastics in surveys worldwide.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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