Poland Spring plans to shift to recycled plastic
STAMFORD — Nestle Waters North America announced this week that it had started switching its Poland Spring products’ packaging to recycled plastic, aiming to become the first major bottled-water brand to use entirely recycled plastic across its stillwater portfolio by 2022.
This month, Poland Spring plans to start production of 1-liter bottles with
100 percent recycled plastic. In April, the brand launched a premium product, a 900milliliter bottle of Poland Spring Origin, which is also fully made of recycled material. Last year, sister brand Nestle Pure Life introduced a 700-milliliter bottle with only recycled plastic, not including its cap and label.
Nestle Waters officials said their push to use more recycled materials represents the next stage in their company’s push to make packaging more sustainable and help reduce plastic waste. Last December, the firm announced that it would use 25 percent recycled plastic across its U.S. portfolio by 2021. By 2025, it plans to use recycled plastic in 50 percent across all its packaging. In addition to Poland Spring, Nestle Waters sells different stillwater products in other parts of the country and produces other brands including the Perrier and S. Pellegrino sparkling waters.
“As a company, we’ve already put our stake in the ground when it comes to taking the ‘single’ out of ‘single-use’ plastic bottles,” Nestle Waters CEO and President Fernando Mercé said in a statement. “As we begin to transform Poland Spring, our most iconic brand, to 100 percent recycled plastic packaging, we will begin to bring this commitment to life for our consumers in a tangible way. Bottles like these, which are made from 100% recycled plastic and are 100 percent recyclable, are proof that a fully circular economy is within our reach.”
Poland Spring’s packaging, which is now mostly made using PET plastic, a clear and lightweight form, is already 100 percent recyclable, according to Nestle Waters. Nearly all singleserving and 2-liter bottles of carbonated soft drinks and water sold in the U.S. are made from PET, according to the PET Resin Association.
The brand is also expanding “How2Recycle” labels across all of its packaging, to remind consumers to empty the bottle, replace the cap and recycle.
Among other initiatives, Nestle Waters said it has contributed $6 million to the Closed Loop Fund, a $100 million investment fund that supports recycling infrastructure and programs across the U.S.
At the same time, company officials acknowledge
that tackling plastic waste still poses a massive challenge.
Of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic made since large-scale production started in the 1950s, 6.3 billion tons have become waste, according to researchers from the University of Georgia, the University of California-Santa Barbara and the Sea Education Association.
The plastic blight severely damages ecosystems, estimated to contribute to the deaths of millions of marine animals every year.
“There is no silver bullet that will solve everything with one particular activity or initiative,” David Tulauskas, Nestle Waters’ new chief sustainability officer, said in a recent interview. “But our vision of a ‘circular economy’ really needs to engage consumers and inspire them to view plastic not as waste, but as a precious resource that can be used over and over again.”
Only 9 percent of plastic was recycled nationwide in 2015, a gain of only
7 percentage points from 1990. In comparison, national recycling of paper and cardboard jumped from 28 percent in 1990 to 67 percent in 2015.
In another major initiative announced this week, wine-and-spirits companies and advocacy organizations across Connecticut, including Norwalk-based Diageo, said that they would form a nonprofit group, Three Tiers for Connecticut, to help eradicate land litter, particularly discarded 50milliliter “nip” bottles, and educate the public on responsible disposal and recycling of their product containers.
“Consumer education is key to behavior change,” Helen Lowman, president and CEO of the Stamford-based community-beautification nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, said in a recent interview. “We’re going to have to change our social norms around recycling in order to make it successful. It used to be that nobody wore seat belts, but after years of behavior change, it has become a complete social norm. In the same way, recycling should be a norm that we instill in our culture.”
Nestle Waters North America has announced that it is converting its Poland Spring packaging to 100 percent recycled plastic.