Nestlé UK and Ireland has partnered with Plastic Energy, a major chemical recycling company, to explore the potential of developing a recycling plant in the UK. Should it be successfully built, it will be the first commercial large-scale facility of its kind in the UK.
What is Happening?
- A preliminary study with the aim of developing the new recycling plant will be conducted by Plastic Energy, partially funded by Nestlé UK and Ireland, starting in early November and taking around six months to complete.
- Plastic Energy already has two similar plants in Spain, and uses and develops specialist recycling technology to process traditionally difficult-to-recycle plastic waste, such as confectionery wrappers, dry pet food pouches and breakfast cereal bags, into recycled oils called TACOIL, which can then be used as a replacement for fossil oils to make food-grade plastics.
Group Packaging Manager at Nestlé UK and Ireland, Alison Bramfitt says, “The issue of packaging waste is one where we all have a role to play, to not only cut our use of virgin plastic, but also make sure the plastic in our packaging has a second life. We are working hard to create a circular lifespan for our packaging so it can have multiple lives and uses, and partnering with Plastic Energy is just one of the ways we are taking steps forward on this journey.”
He continues, “We want to increase the amount of recycled plastic we use but there are currently real challenges in the supply of recycled content for food packaging in the UK. We hope the outcome of the feasibility study will help offer more insight into the options for supporting the infrastructure in recycling capability in this country.”
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- Partnerships like these are crucial to tackle the rising tide of plastic waste. Brands need to follow suit and start incorporating more recycled content into their products. Nestlé, along with Unilever, were named as the top plastic polluters in the Philippines, based on waste audits conducted in 2019 by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). Further, a 2019 audit by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that Nestlé uses 1.7 million tonnes of plastic each year and in the past five years, the company’s use of plastic in its packaging has increased by 5%. 98% of its products are sold in single-use packaging, and Nestlé is third in the list of top plastic polluters globally.
Featured image by: Flickr