A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier
We always are pleased to see American companies doing what they can to reduce the amount of waste through recycling, making things easier to recycle and being leaders for others. Taken from a Recycling Today newsletter, here is one company which appears to be doing just that.
The article started, “Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA), Stamford, Connecticut, has committed to using 25 percent recycled plastic across its U.S. domestic portfolio by 2021 and 50 percent by 2025.” Additionally, “The company also has committed to making 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.”
However, for the company to accomplish this, there must be an increase in the recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) available. Towards this end, NWNA has expanded it’s working relationship with several key rPET suppliers, aiming to nearly quadruple its use of food-grade rPET in less than three years.
“We want to take the ‘single’ out of ‘single-use’ bottles," NWNA President and CEO Fernando Mercé said. "Our bottles were never meant to be thrown in the garbage – we carefully design them to be collected, recycled and repurposed.”
We find that even before it began using rPET in its water bottles in 2010, NWNA was already reducing the amount of plastic used in its packaging. For example, since 1994, the company has decreased the amount of PET content of its half-liter water bottles by more than 60 percent
Through efforts such as this, the company saves approximately 65 million pounds of PET annually. Thus, since this effort started, the total savings adds up to around 5 billion pounds through 2017.
“In early 2018, NWNA says it reached a company milestone when it introduced a 700-milliliter Nestlé Pure Life bottle made entirely from rPET. Prior to that, in 2017, nine out of every 10 of the company’s Arrowhead brand spring water bottles were made with 50 percent recycled content.”
The company is also increasing its overall use of rPET by nearly 40 percent for its Arrowhead brand. This equals about 18 million pounds of the recycled material annually.
“We are looking for ways to increase recycled content use wherever possible,” a spokesperson said.
One of the problems NWNA faces concerns the matter of supply; getting enough food-grade quality rPET. Towards this end, it is partnering with another company in the development of depolymerization. This process offers many advantages, especially in the area of quality. Taking PET back down to its basic elements results in getting a higher-quality material than what is currently accomplished using traditional mechanical recycling.
Additionally, to reinforce the value that recyclables have, the company installed bike racks and benches made from recycled plastic in some local communities for the residents to use and enjoy.
One of the company’s efforts is to educate people on the importance of recycling plastic bottles so they don’t end up in landfills, natural areas and water areas – lakes, rivers and oceans.
As a spokesperson explained, the company’s bottles are not meant to be thrown away but to be used again. Although many of us do not think of it in this manner, “A bottle made from another bottle is not single-use.”
Research done in 2018 showed almost 50 percent of consumers are influenced by environmentally-friendly packaging in the beverage industry. Thus, NWNA has a very strong internal expertise in designing bottles with recyclability as a goal. It is felt through efforts such as these, Let's hope that other beverage companies invest in efforts such as these.
Till next week, do have a great one...
Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.