Food and Beverage Business
Packaging

Nestlé invests £7 million into new hard-to-recycle plastics plant

Nestlé invests £7 million into new hard-to-recycle plastics plant Beverage, business, Nestlé, packaging, Processing and Packaging, recycling, Sustainability, Transparency and supply chain Food and Beverage Business

Flexible plastics used in food and beverage production have raised concerns in the industry due to their hard-to-recycle nature. To tackle this issue, Nestlé has entered into a £7 million investment partnership with Impact Recycling, a technology company. Impact Recycling has developed a breakthrough plastic recycling technology that will be the focal point of the company’s new UK recycling plant.

The investment from Nestlé is aimed at advancing the handling of hard-to-recycle plastics in the food and beverage industry by promoting recycling infrastructure. The new plastics facility, in partnership with a grant from Innovate UK, is set to become operational by late Summer 2024. According to Sokhna Gueye, Head of Packaging at Nestlé UK and Ireland, the company is looking to invest in solutions that stimulate the development of much-needed recycling infrastructure in the UK.

Food and Beverage Industry Trends

The UK government’s waste reduction strategy, the Plastics Pact, and Innovate UK’s Circular Plastics Network are driving the push towards sustainable practices in the food and beverage industry. Flexible plastic packaging, which makes up a significant portion of consumer packaging, has been a particular focus area for change. Nestlé has been redesigning its flexible packaging to transition to simpler designs that are easier to recycle.

Efforts to recycle plastics in the UK have been hindered by inadequate infrastructure. Organisations such as the UK’s Plastics Pact and Innovate UK’s Circular Plastics Network have set ambitious targets to eliminate problematic plastics and increase recycling capacity. These initiatives aim to spur industry innovation and progress towards achieving their sustainability goals.

Food Processing Technology

Impact Recycling’s new plastic recycling facility in Durham, UK, is designed to process hard-to-recycle flexible plastics typically used in food packaging. The facility utilizes a technology called Baffled Oscillation Separation System (BOSS) to recover post-consumer resin from mixed rigid plastic waste. This technology aims to provide a sustainable solution for recycling hard-to-recycle plastics, turning them into pellets that can be reused and repurposed into new products.

 

Food Distribution Trends

The new facility is expected to have the capacity to recycle more than the amount of flexible plastic packaging Nestlé UK and Ireland releases into the market. Nestlé recognizes the critical role packaging plays in ensuring product safety and freshness, but also acknowledges the need to address the environmental impact of packaging waste, particularly plastics. Nestlé aims to collect and recycle its packaging, working towards ensuring that as close to 100% of its packaging is designed for recycling by 2025.

Nestlé has adopted a five-pillar strategy to reduce packaging waste, focusing on creating less packaging, reuse and refill, creating better packaging, developing better recycling systems, and rethinking behaviors internally and with partners and consumers.

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