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Amid 2020 pandemic, Nestlé Philippines accelerates efforts to tackle plastic waste, pushes for Extended Producer Responsibility
Nestlé Philippines Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki (center right) leads volunteers in a seaside clean-up at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area.
File Photo

Amid 2020 pandemic, Nestlé Philippines accelerates efforts to tackle plastic waste, pushes for Extended Producer Responsibility

(The Philippine Star) - December 23, 2020 - 2:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the difficulties and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nestlé Philippines has maintained a single-minded focus on exercising leadership in tackling plastic waste by achieving first-ever milestones, including being the first multinational fast-moving consumer goods or FMCG company to bat for a legislated Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR scheme for plastic waste in the country.

“The problem of plastic waste is one that we are deeply concerned about and it involves all of us,” said Nestlé Philippines Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki, “We know that plastic waste must be addressed, and it is for this reason that our vision at Nestlé is that none of our packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfills, oceans, or as litter. To make this happen, we are striving for our packaging to be 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025, and to reduce the use of virgin plastic by a third.”

In order to achieve its ambition, Nestlé Philippines is focusing on three key areas. The first is to develop the packaging for the future – to ensure that its packaging is designed to be recycled – to explore and implement packaging and delivery innovations, and to reduce plastic use. The second is to increase collection and recycling. The third is to drive new behavior and understanding of waste avoidance and proper solid waste management.

Accelerating its efforts to address the plastics challenge, the company is the first food and beverage manufacturer in the country to switch from plastic to paper straws for its locally manufactured, ready-to-drink products this year.

Another major milestone is its removal of polybags for MAGGI Magic Sarap, MILO, and KOKO KRUNCH, decreasing plastic use by 800 metric tons.

In addition, Nestlé has research centers across the world as well as a packaging institute based in Switzerland that are all conducting research on packaging innovations including alternative materials.

CHUCKIE, BBS GINKO BILOBA, AND BBS GINSENG with paper straws. Nestlé Philippines is identifying alternative materials to make its packaging more sustainable. Early this year, the company started its transition to the use of paper straws in its locally manufactured ready-to-drink products that will eliminate the use of 130 metric tons of plastic straws by end of the year.
File Photo

To increase awareness and encourage proper waste management, the company has developed solid waste management modules that will be rolled out in 10,000 public schools this school year. These modules are the first to be endorsed by the Department of Education and the National Solid Waste Management Commission of the Office of the President, the leading agency for waste management.

Its efforts in tackling plastic waste paid off as it achieved its biggest milestone yet: becoming the first multinational FMCG in the country to achieve plastic neutrality in the months of August, September, October and November. In those months it collected and processed the equivalent amounts of plastics it put out into the market with its product packaging, totaling 9,232 metric tons.

“Together with cement companies and NGOs as our partners, we collect all types of soft plastics regardless of producer. We are doing this as an immediate and urgent measure to help stop leakage into the oceans.  We are committed to maintaining plastic neutrality. We hope that other companies will do the same,” Marzouki said.

He stressed that collaboration and collective action on plastic waste are vital. “This is especially true if we are to move forward, especially in transforming how packaging is managed after use. We think that we need to build a circular economy, a system that seeks to eliminate waste and enable continuous use of resources. In order to do that, all plastic producers and importers must assume responsibility for post-consumer waste within the framework of a mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility scheme,” he added.

(From left) Republic Cement President and CEO Nabil Francis and Nestlé Philippines Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki at the Republic plant in Norzagaray, Bulacan where plastic waste is co-processed. Co-processing is the reuse or recovery of thermal and mineral properties of qualified waste materials while manufacturing cement in a single, combined operation.
File Photo

EPR is an environmental policy approach implemented around the world in which producers take responsibility for their products even after use by the consumer. Under an EPR scheme for plastic waste, importers and manufacturers, through a non-profit organization called a Producer Responsibility Organization or PRO, will pay a fee that will be used to manage the equivalent amounts of waste from the packaging of companies.

“Looking back at our milestones this year, we know there is much more to be done. As we search for alternatives and ways to reduce plastic use, as we invest in education, and as we work together to collect more of the plastics we put out into the market, we can stop leakage into the oceans, increase recycling rates, and promote a circular economy.  We will continue to advocate a holistic approach and collaborate with other stakeholders as we pursue our journey towards a waste-free future," Marzouki concluded.

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