At Nestlé, sustainable development is part of the mission, the vision. But these are more than just words. Nestlé was one of the first big companies in Belgium to adopt PMD sorting on a large scale.
This multinational food company operates in several sectors, including baby food, hot drinks, cereals, plant-based products, chocolate and water, as well as medical foods and pet products.
For several years now, the Nestlé Group has been developing a strategic plan to reduce its CO2 emissions. Its initial target is 2030 and it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Sorting packaging is one of the actions taken within the company to achieve this goal.
90% less residual waste thanks to staff sorting
Actions have been organised within the company to explain the importance of sorting and the sorting rules, and staff have responded very positively. This is borne out by the fact that between 2019 and 2021, the level of residual waste fell from 36.7% to 3.6%, down a 90%. The carbon balance for 2021 is set to be positive, as this reduction in residual waste results in a gain of 6,519 kg of CO2, or the equivalent of 30,900 km by car!
A Waste Coach is on site in the company every day to help anyone who may have questions about sorting, give tips and tricks for better sorting and recycling and encourage staff in the efforts they make.
“When the project first started, EcoSmart analysed the residual waste in terms of both weight and content and assessed what could be recycled better”, says Kristel Veirier-Peeters, Head of General Services & EHS.
Nestlé Belgium has been fully equipped with sorting islands so that staff can sort as they do at home: PMD, paper and cardboard, compostable materials, glass, residual waste, etc. Even the coffee pods are recycled.
First Zero Waste company
Nestlé’s added value is this Zero Waste project, which was set up with EcoSmart (Renewi), and in which Fost Plus' expertise was called upon.
“We plan to achieve Zero Waste certification from the time the building renovation work here in Anderlecht is complete. We continue to pursue our concrete goals to fulfil our aims in terms of a circular economy and carbon neutrality”, Kristel Veirier-Peeters also explains.
This certification, a process initiated by the waste operator Renewi, is granted to companies and organisations that implement all possible measures in the workplace to process the waste flow as sustainably as possible, reducing the environmental impact to the fullest extent.
An internal Ec’Office committee works on the issues of mobility, cutting energy costs and reducing and recycling waste.
Optimising packaging to allow recycling
Efforts are also being made to improve the recyclability of the packaging that Nestlé puts on the market, with the help of the Fost Plus Design for Recycling teams in particular. The procedures are being modified to improve the materials and optimise packaging with a view to recycling.
This is a real team effort, including collaboration with the marketing department, because it is important that the end consumer knows that the products he uses meet his needs, not least as regards sustainable development.
But Nestlé doesn’t stop there. Keen to share their praiseworthy objectives, in 2022 the company is also planning to carry out audits among its suppliers so as to reduce the quantity of packaging materials used as much as possible.