Can we turn the tide of plastic packaging? | Rethink Sustainability

The consumer movement against plastic food and beverage packaging is gathering momentum, and companies are beginning to respond. The FT’s Anna Gross takes a closer look at some of the more innovative products available, including reusable takeaway cups and compostable packaging. Meanwhile, as part of its sustainable strategy, food giant Nestlé is looking to create plastic that’s easier to recycle.

Since throwaway plastics were introduced to the consumer in the 1940s the multi-purpose material has become an ideal food and beverage packaging product 78 million metric tons of plastic packaging are produced globally each year but only 14% of that is recycled i’m here at nestle’s institute of packaging sciences to find out a bit about the pledges they’ve made to

Reduce plastic in their packaging and increase recycling in 2018 nestle produced 1.7 million metric tons of plastic and the company has been a target of protest action but by 2025 it’s committed to a hundred percent of its products being recyclable all reusable and to reduce the use of virgin plastics by a third the labs here in lausanne are a key part of that

Commitment hi i’m veronica hi i’m anna veronique crema des matisse is nestle’s global head of sustainable packaging and this year the company pledged one point six eight billion euros to its sustainable packaging program as part of a three-pronged strategy nestle is firstly looking at trying to simplify the material itself when you see it as a small sort of a

Soft plastic you think it’s just one layer but actually often you have many layers and the more layers the more complexity and are likely it will be easy to recycle isn’t one of the reasons that plastic is so ubiquitous about that it’s cheaper but when we say we want to create a market for recycled plastic that are food grade and we are willing to pay a premium we

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Play it for system change but yes it’s more expensive as well as creating material that’s easier to recycle nestle is also exploring different recycling techniques but the third part of its strategy presents a significant challenge changing the customer mindset you can have the right material that is completely designed to be recycled but if the consumer doesn’t

Dispose in the right way streamer then the workers donor has no you there are companies finding ways to engage with the consumer in london in california cup club started in 2018 by sofia qureshi has introduced washable takeaway cups for businesses the materials that we opted in for were 100% recyclable plastics it’s lightweight it’s it’s very durable it’s easy to

Make it behaves very well with hot temperatures when it comes to carrying food and beverage it almost mimics the experience of what people are currently using with single-use cup club offers businesses sustainable drink cups which it collects at the end of each day washes and returns to be used hundreds of times the idea is that we we design from multi-use so that’s

Minimum 250 uses they can actually go beyond that when you compare our product to single-use products we break even at 66 about two three weeks ago we completed 400,000 orders and that has been an aggregate amount of about 11,000 kg of co2 saved and just under 7,000 kg of total waste meanwhile scottish firm veg ware has been named as that country’s fastest growing

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Export company selling sustainable recyclable compostable products to food and drink the materials we use are plant-based so everything we have is suitable for industrial composting in under 12 weeks in practice it’s actually often quicker the company now has distributors in 70 countries around the world it’s packaging is more expensive than expanded polystyrene but

Turnover has grown rapidly from 20 million pounds two years ago in terms of turnover we have doubled in size or more than doubled in the last two years but key impediment to growth the veg ware and many of these product based companies face is ensuring there are appropriate waste facilities available to compost and recycle their materials it’s always chicken and

Egg you have to have a significant volume of a material around in order for waste processors to be interested in actually dealing with it so that’s where we are now with plant-based compostable materials that dealing with there’s no reason why it can’t happen all it takes is investment willingness favourable policies and of course a bit of time the ellen macarthur

Foundation has estimated that there would be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050 if companies continued as normal these three firms are all investing in innovation to combat the problem but ingrain business practices customer habits and the availability of cheaper plastic products mean the scale of the challenge shouldn’t be underestimated

Transcribed from video
Can we turn the tide of plastic packaging? | Rethink Sustainability By Financial Times

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