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Danone Accelerates Transition Toward Circular Economy

Danone announced new initiatives to ensure packaging is recycled, reused or composted in practice.

Danone announced a series of new commitments and actions to ensure its packaging will become 100 percent circular and to accelerate the global transition toward a circular economy of packaging.

This includes:

1. Initiatives to improve product design and develop alternative delivery and reuse models.

2. Investments to develop effective, efficient and inclusive systems for increased collection and recycling and to boost recycling.

3. Actions to preserve natural resources by reintegrating recycled materials into packaging and developing use of renewable materials.

"We believe the time is now to step up and accelerate, embrace our responsibility and work with others to engage a radical shift that will help free the world from packaging waste,” said Emmanuel Faber, chairman and CEO of Danone, in a statement. “We will be acting both at global and local level to ensure circularity of packaging becomes the new norm. Today, we are announcing a series of investments and commitments that, I believe, will have a concrete impact. These will be amplified as we collaborate with industry-peers, governments, NGOs, start-ups and the finance sector; harness new technologies and invest in new solutions."

Danone will accelerate its transition toward a circular economy of packaging in three ways:

1.  Packaging Designed for Circularity

Danone said it commits to ensure that all its packaging is designed to be 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Moreover, the company will develop alternative delivery models or new reuse models where relevant and take action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging.

2.  Reused, Recycled and Composted in Practice

Danone explained it recognizes that design won't be enough to make its packaging fully circular. Effective collection and recycling systems are essential to ensuring packaging is recycled, reused or composted in practice. “To achieve this, we will actively help to meet, or go beyond, the collection targets set by regulators, such as the minimum 90 percent collection target for beverage bottles expected to be set in the E.U. for 2025,” stated the company. “To do this, we will support the most effective publicly organized collection and recycling systems, including Extended Producer Responsibility and Deposit Return Scheme systems, when relevant.”

The company added it will invest in private initiatives that strengthen circular infrastructure, especially in countries where formal systems are absent or in development, or where there is a high risk of leakage into the environment. By 2025, Danone will have initiated or supported collection and recycling initiatives in its top 20 markets, according to the company.

3. Preservation of Natural Resources

Transitioning to a circular economy means seeking to no longer use packaging from finite resources. This helps preserve natural resources and keep existing packaging materials in use and out of nature. Using recycled content is a key component of this.

“Today, we use 14 percent of recycled PET on average in our water and other beverage bottles; by 2025, we will increase this amount to 50 percent,” noted the company. “Our evian brand already contains 30 percent recycled plastic on average and intends to reach 100 percent by 2025. We recently launched our first 100 percent recycled PET bottle with the Lanjaron Red natural mineral water brand in Spain. We will launch additional 100 percent recycled PET bottles, reaching all major water markets by 2021.”

In addition, the company has a joint project with Nestle, PepsiCo and Origin Materials to bring the first 75 percent bio-based bottle to commercial scale by 2021, aiming to launch 100 percent bio-based bottles by 2025.

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