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Nestlè: 85% recyclable plastic in Europe

In Italy, 97% of the packaging produced by the multinational is reusable

At European level, the Nestlé Group has achieved 85% recyclability for plastic packaging and has reduced the use of virgin plastic for its packaging by 14%. These results confirm the extraordinary efforts that Nestlé is making to further improve the recyclability of packaging.

In Italy, Nestlé has achieved particularly significant goals: 97% of the packaging produced in our country is already recyclable. In detail, in Italy the company has achieved 100% recyclability for corrugated cardboard and glass, 98% for its paper packaging, 96% for rigid plastic, 92% for aluminium, 77% for flexible plastics. Furthermore, in our country in recent years the Group has been intensifying investments for the creation of circular economy initiatives and recycling systems.

“The important results achieved so far demonstrate that we are on the right path and push us to work with even more conviction – said Marta Schiraldi , Safety, Health, Environment and Sustainability Head of the Nestlé Italy Group -. If it is true that the recyclability of packaging begins with its design, it is undeniable that the infrastructure available to the country is equally important, which allows the effective recycling of post-consumer packaging and, without which, it is not possible to make the most of the, albeit high, recyclability characteristics of the packaging. For this reason, we are investing significant resources and signing partnerships with institutions, bodies and other companies for the creation of recycling infrastructures in Italy".

In fact, the Nestlé Group is working to increase the collection of used coffee capsules and to support their recycling process. With this in mind, the "Alliance for the recycling of aluminum capsules" initiative was launched, founded in 2021 by Nespresso in partnership with Illycaffè and which has been further strengthened since February 2023 with the entry of Starbucks by Nespresso. Thanks to this agreement, Italian consumers can deliver the used Starbucks by Nespresso aluminum capsules, in addition to those of Nespresso and illy, in over 65 Nespresso Boutiques, in 10 illy Stores and in more than 75 drop off points, for a total of over 150 collection points throughout the country. Since the creation of the Alliance (2021) more than 3,000 tons of coffee capsules have been recovered and, through the participation of Starbucks by Nespresso, the Group aims to manage resources in an increasingly responsible way throughout the life cycle of the capsules in aluminum expanding, at the same time, the possibilities of giving new life to exhausted capsules.

The important circular economy initiative "From Bean to Bean" by Nespresso also fits into this perspective. Through this project, the aluminum that makes up the capsules, an infinitely recyclable material, is destined for foundries to start the recycling process that will transform it into new objects (for example pens, bicycles and much more), while the coffee is given to a composting plant for its transformation into compost, subsequently used in a rice paddy in Italy. The rice thus produced is then repurchased by Nespresso and finally donated to the Banco Alimentare of Lombardy, Lazio and Piedmont.

In parallel, Nestlé is collaborating with external companies to create a collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure for plastic coffee capsules as well. To achieve significant results in this field, in 2021 Nestlé launched - in collaboration with illy, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region and three local urban waste managers - the "Recap" pilot project, which made it possible to collect more than 16 tons of coffee capsules in plastic, and to carry out separability tests with the aim of creating a separation and recycling plant on an industrial scale.

In addition, there are numerous ecodesign projects activated in Italy by Nestlé brands to accelerate the Group's packaging sustainability roadmap. In 2021 Levissima launched in our country the first bottle produced with 100% R-PET for the 1L and 75cl natural references. R-PET is a material obtained from the recovery of common PET, which can be recycled countless times. Moving from the water business to the coffee business, the new Starbucks by Nespresso capsules were recently launched on the market, made with 80% recycled aluminum and made from thinner aluminum foil, which made it possible to reduce by 9, 2% the presence of aluminum in the packaging compared to the previous composition. The Nidina and NAN brands have adopted plastic lids and measuring cups produced for at least 66% from renewable vegetable sources (sugar cane), continuing to guarantee the safety and food quality of the product. In 2021 Smarties announced the switch to recyclable paper packaging for its main references worldwide (over 90% of the range).

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EFA News - European Food Agency