- Nestlé announced a new partnership with Danimer Scientific, a leading developer and manufacturer of biodegradable plastic products, to develop biodegradable water bottles using the company’s PHA polymer Nodax.
- This partnership is part of Nestlé’s new commitment to make 100% of its packaging either recyclable or reusable by 2025.
- “A biodegradable bottle, which is also recyclable, can help improve the environmental impact of our business in countries without collection and recycling systems,” Maurizio Patarnello, CEO of Nestlé Waters said in a company statement.
Sustainability is no longer optional for food and beverage manufacturers. While the demand for recyclable and biodegradable packaging can present an added challenge to CPG companies, the efforts pay off. Nielsen found that a company’s commitment to being a good steward of the environment can sway product purchases for 45% of consumers — who are willing to pay more for those products.
However, despite a company’s best intentions, when it comes to packaging, it can be difficult to make the switch. The science behind eco-friendly practices hasn't been easy for the food packaging industry. Designing earth-friendly packaging that can keep products fresh and endure temperature changes that come with cooking is a challenge. Plus, production costs for sustainable options increase by around 25% when compared to traditional packaging.
Despite these challenges, Nestlé has stepped up to the plate and committed to spending the next six years transforming all of their packaging into a recyclable or reusable equivalent.
Nestlé has already improved its sustainability efforts. When it comes to water use and conservation, last year Nestle Waters announced it received certification from the Alliance for Water Stewardship for four bottling facilities, including three in California. This year, the company upped the ante and committed to removing all plastic straws from its products starting in February. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2019, the CPG giant says it will begin rolling out paper packaging for Nesquik, followed by several British brands. Yes! snack bar brand will have paper packaging in the second half of 2019. Smarties will start introducing plastic-free packaging this year, and Milo will launch paper-based pouches in 2020.
Still, even with these strides toward sustainability, a recent report identified Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle as the businesses that are contributing most to pollution.
With such a reality facing them, it’s no surprise that Nestlé is working toward reformulating one of the biggest single-use plastic products that it produces. And the company is not alone in thinking that eliminating plastic from water bottles is an essential step toward environmental responsibility. As early as 2011, a Canadian company made a splash with its fully biodegradable water bottles. Since then, UrthPact has come onto the market to commercially provide compostable water bottles, Crystal Mountain delivers its water in biodegradable bottles and Boxed Water has gained considerable cachet through its social media marketing efforts which has made the alternative packaging for water cool.
While price is still a factor when it comes to producing recyclable or biodegradable alternatives to traditional PET plastics, it will come down as more big name companies turn to compostable and sustainable packaging and make it more appealing to both manufacturers and consumers.