Sustainable packaging innovations have saved Nestle between 40 and 70 million kg of materials over the past two decades, according to Anne Roulin, the company’s global head of packaging and design, quoted in Packaging World.
Examples of light-weighted packaging include Nestlé Waters division’s “Eco-Shape” bottles, which have dropped in weight to 9.2 grams from 24 grams “a few years ago,” according to Roulin, the web site reports. Similarly, improvements in Nescafé stand-up coffee pouch design reduced resource consumption by 28 percent and reduced the number of truckloads needed to ship the same amount of product by half, Roulin said.
In March, Nescafé UK & Ireland announced that it expected to cut 726 tons of plastic waste going to landfill each year, by replacing rigid plastic on its Easter egg cartons with cardboard. Nestlé said that the eco-packaging project, which removes all plastic packaging from all its eggs, took six years to complete.
As well as helping reduce packaging weight, the company’s sustainability goals, which have been in place since 1991, have helped it recycle and recover energy from packaging, and use recycled and sustainably sourced materials, the web site reports.
The company is also targeting greater use of packaging from sustainably managed sources including materials similar to polylactic acid that are derived from food crops; conventional plastics derived from renewable resources; and conventional and new bio-plastics from non-food sources such as wood, waste farming products and algae, the web site reports.
In June, a number of UK retailers, manufacturers and consumer groups including Nestlé called for the phrase “sustainable packaging” to be scrapped, calling instead for government to get to grips with the real issues affecting the industry, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The packaging industry described the term as nothing more than a “red herring,” according to the research.