Many consumers are still in the dark about what packaging goes in which bin – and food company Nestlé has made it a priority to educate them.
In April, Nestlé announced its ambition to make 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable or re-usable by 2025 because the company wants none of its packaging, including plastics, to find their home in landfill or as litter.
And just this week, it started implementing labelling to help consumers recycle correctly, with new labels now appearing on Allen’s lollies in Australia and New Zealand.
Nestlé was one of the first to adopt the Australian Recycling Label (ARL), which has been designed to outline what product packaging is made from so consumers can correctly recycle.
The scheme, developed by Planet Ark, the Australian Packaging Covenant and PREP Design, recognises that most consumers want to recycle, but need clearer information.
Starting with Strawberries & Cream and Snakes Alive, the ARL can be seen alongside the REDcycle label on packs to inform consumers that all its soft plastic packaging can be recycled via the in-store collection scheme.
Nestlé Oceania packaging specialist Jacky Nordsvan told PKN the company was currently going through a process of assessing all its packaging using the PREP tool.
“We are looking at our whole range to see whether it's recyclable or not, and plan to put the ARL on all our locally produced packaging by 2020,” she said.
“This covers confectionery brands such as Kit Kat, Milo, and Purina. We partnered with REDcycle in order to achieve compliance.”
Nordsvan says there is reasonably still low awareness among consumers about what materials are recyclable, but Planet Ark will be developing education programs for consumers around the ARL.
“That said, the topic of sustainability is rapidly boiling at the moment since the War on Waste has aired – there are lots of questions from consumers coming in, and the ARL is the perfect education platform,” she says.
Nestlé has also had the opportunity to highlight to its own people the value of recycling – and the need for a packaging label.
“Starting with our head office at Rhodes we have run recycling workshops to educate staff on what can and can't be recycled,” she says.
Into the future, Nestlé's focus will remain on three core areas: eliminating non-recyclable plastics; encouraging the use of plastics that allow better recycling rates; and eliminating or changing complex combinations of packaging materials.
According to the company, this means minimising the impact of packaging on the environment now.
Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider says tackling plastic waste requires a collective approach.
“We are committed to finding improved solutions to reduce, re-use and recycle so we can achieve 100 per cent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025, and we hope others will join us,” he says.