Nestlé has announced a $30 million investment in an initiative to upgrade US recycling infrastructure and secure access to food-grade recycled plastics.
The capital will be invested in the Closed Loop Leadership Fund – the private equity fund of Closed Loop Partners – to help support the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics across the US.
It marks the first investment from Nestlé’s sustainable packaging venture fund, which was established earlier this year as part of its CHF 2 billion investment.
The commitment also forms part of the company’s actions to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, as well as reduce its use of virgin plastics by one third. Currently, Nestlé claims that 87% of its packaging is recyclable or reusable.
Closed Loop will use the capital to finance its acquisitions of companies that are reportedly advancing the circular economies in the US. As a result, Nestlé will gain access to recycled plastics feedstock processed by these companies with the aim of achieving greater volumes of food-grade recycled plastics for its packaging.
“Nestlé’s investment is a significant commitment to help modernise, optimise and capitalise circular economy infrastructure in the US and harness innovative technologies to keep materials in manufacturing supply chains,” said Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners.
He added: “In addition to the investment, Nestlé has committed to create an end-market for the food-grade recycled plastics processed through the companies we acquire. This will enable us to fully close the loop on valuable materials.”
Having access to high-quality food-grade recycled PET, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) will increase Nestlé’s ability to incorporate recycled plastics into packaging across its food and beverage portfolio.
“It is important that we do our part to help keep recyclable materials out of landfills, and increase recycling rates in the US, and this investment is a significant move in that direction. It is also a critical step in our effort to secure access to high-quality, food-grade recycled plastics which can be converted into new packaging material for use across our product portfolio,” said Steve Presley, chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA.
In addition, the company announced a new refillable system for its pet food in Chile and the move to ‘first-of-its-kind’ recyclable paper packaging for its individual Maggi bouillon cubes in France.
Nestlé is also launching a new Creating Shared Value Prize, in partnership with the non-profit organisation Ashoka, which will award grants for innovations in areas such as alternative delivery systems and solutions to tackle plastic waste.