Nestle has inaugurated a research institute aimed at developing more sustainable packaging for its products and reducing plastic waste, to the dissatisfaction of environment protection group Greenpeace.
The maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe instant coffee has vowed to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, one of the goals of the Institute for packaging sciences in the western Swiss city of Lausanne.
The centre’s 50 employees will work closely with other Nestle research staff, as well as external scientists and start-ups. The collaborative effort is aimed at producing simplified wrapping materials that have fewer layers and are easier to recycle, as well as compo-stable and biodegradable packaging.
In previous years, Nestle has faced flak from environmental protection groups, notably Greenpeace, which identified the company as one of the biggest producers of plastic waste that is polluting landfill sites and oceans. Greenpeace has also criticised Nestle’s lack of action to address the problem.
Greenpeace spokesperson Mathias Schlegel said Nestle’s initiative comes too late and that the strategy to achieve its goals was not clear. He urges the company to be more transparent and to give “milestones” regarding its commitment to limiting climate change.
Greenpeace has been organising various actions to protest Nestle’s plastic production. Earlier this year, the group laid out a giant banner on Lake Leman urging Nestle to halt the use of single-use plastic packaging.
The group also put up a “plastic monster” sculpture created out of plastic products in the Swiss city of Vevey to criticise the group.
According to an analysis released in July by the global risk consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft, 2.1 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste are generated each year.