Poland Spring plans to shift to re­cy­cled plas­tic

The News-Times - - BUSINESS - By Paul Schott

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.”

Hearst Connecticu­t Me­dia file photo

Nes­tle Wa­ters North Amer­ica has an­nounced that it is con­vert­ing its Poland Spring pack­ag­ing to 100 per­cent re­cy­cled plas­tic.

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