Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) announced it will achieve 25 percent recycled plastic across its U.S. domestic portfolio by 2021. The company noted it plans to continue expanding its use of recycled materials in the coming years, further setting an ambition to reach 50 percent recycled plastic by 2025.
The company is expanding its relationship with key supplier Plastrec (Joliette, Canada) and working with other suppliers to support its ability to nearly quadruple its use of food-grade recycled plastic, or rPET, in less than three years. This comes on the heels of Nestlé Waters' announcement last month about the expansion of its partnership with CarbonLITE, as the rPET supplier builds a third U.S. facility in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.
"We want to take the 'single' out of single-use bottles. Our bottles were never meant to be thrown in the garbage—we carefully design them to be collected, recycled and repurposed," said Fernando Mercé, president and CEO of Nestlé Waters North America, in a statement. "PET plastic is a valuable resource that, if recycled properly, can be used to create new bottles again and again. We're proving that it can be done by making bottles out of other bottles—not 10 years from now, but today."
In addition to the company's multiyear supplier agreements, Nestlé Waters continues to make indirect investments in recycling infrastructure in the U.S. through its $6 million investment in the Closed Loop Fund. In municipalities such as Waterbury, Conn., the investment fund is supporting enhanced recycling programs with a goal of increasing the current city recycling rate from 6 percent to 25 percent by 2020. Just recently, Closed Loop Fund announced a $1.5 million investment in rPlanet Earth, the world's first completely vertically integrated manufacturer of post-consumer recycled PET.
Nestlé Waters also supports recycling collection programs through organizations like Keep America Beautiful, including an integrated recycling education and awareness initiative for the 10,000 students affected by the Flint water crisis. The company also added How2Recycle information on the labels of its major U.S. brands. These labels include a reminder for consumers to empty the bottle and replace the cap before recycling.
Earlier this year, as a result of Nestlé Waters' existing relationship with rPET supplier Plastrec, the company unveiled a new 100 percent rPET Nestlé Pure Life bottle.
"The planet has a problem with plastic pollution. If plastic is going to survive as a packaging material, it must demonstrate closed loop capability," said Mark Murray, executive director of the environmental group Californians Against Waste, in a statement. "Nestlé Waters has embraced this responsibility by accelerating their use of recycled content over the next three years and their commitment to reach 50 percent by 2025. Nestlé Waters is setting the example that the rest of the beverage industry must embrace."
This latest milestone is part of parent company Nestlé SA's broader ambition to develop a circular economy for plastics and to prevent packaging from ending up as litter. The global company recently announced that it has signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to work collectively on solutions that address the root causes of plastics waste and pollution.