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Nestlé will spend US$2 billion on recycled plastics

The world’s largest food company Nestlé today committed US$2 billion to the use of recycled and other sustainable packaging solutions in a bid to reduce its use of virgin plastics.

Nestlé’s announcement is part of its 2018 pledge to have only recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. According to a release by the company, the move will reduce its use of virgin plastics by a third. This is a significant number for the company which produced 1.7 trillion metric tonnes of the material in 2018, according to its website, and is among the top five global plastic polluters, said Break Free From Plastic, a global movement aimed at creating a plastic free future.

Approximately three-thirds of the total figure will be used to find recycled plastics.

“Food quality and safety are paramount, and packaging plays a major role in assuring this. Most plastics are difficult to recycle for food packaging, leading to a limited supply of food-grade recycled plastics,” the Swiss conglomerate said in a statement today, January 16. “To create a market, Nestlé is therefore committed to sourcing up to 2 million metric tonnes of food-grade recycled plastics and allocating more than CHF (Swiss franc) 1.5 billion to pay a premium for these materials between now and 2025.”

Cuts will be made to other divisions to fund the initiative.

Chief executive officer of Nestlé, Mark Schneider (Photo: fortune.com)

Additionally, Nestlé will launch a US$260 million fund which invests in start-ups that focus on developing sustainable packaging. Chief executive officer of Nestlé, Mark Schneider, said “No plastic should end up in landfill or as litter. Making recycled plastics safe for food is an enormous challenge for our industry. That is why in addition to minimizing plastics use and collecting waste, we want to close the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable. We are taking bold steps to create a wider market for food-grade recycled plastics and boost innovation in the packaging industry. We welcome others to join us on this journey.”

The two initiatives form a large part of the multinational’s goal to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.