Solving the challenges of plastic waste requires a conscious choice to use less plastic in our daily activities, and opt wherever possible, for materials that are more environmentally friendly and recyclable. It also requires everybody’s effort to avoid littering.
To address the issue of packaging waste in the environment, Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad has been proactively working with local partners to establish in the community better and more widespread recycling habits, as well as more effective ways for waste collection and separation of the different types of materials.
Empowering communities to adopt better recycling habits
As part of the company’s recycling initiatives, Nestle recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to kick-off an initiative on kerbside collection of recyclables in two townships in Selangor, with the aim of instilling a better understanding of recycling, reducing household waste and increase waste separation and collection for recycling.
The collaboration between the company and MBPJ stemmed from a shared objective to establish a waste-free future, starting in Petaling Jaya, by scaling new and existing kerbside collection of recyclables in Bandar Sri Damansara and Ara Damansara, which have a reach of about 10,000 households.
The company has also developed a new product packaging guideline to educate consumers on how to properly separate the different packaging components of its products to facilitate recycling. This information will be printed on 80% of all Nestle recyclable packaging by 2021, with the objective to reach 100% in 2022.
Recyclables consist of materials such as paper, cardboard, most plastics, used beverage cartons, metal and glass. These represent 90% of our packaging materials at Nestlé. These guidelines would encourage and facilitate separation at source and encourage the behaviour/habit of recycling.
By creating more awareness on how to recycle, and clearly explaining on the packaging, this will hopefully encourage more consumers to rethink about the product packaging before throwing it away.
Leveraging partnerships to shape a waste-free future
Nestle’s operations partner, KPT Recycle Sdn Bhd, executes the on-ground collection to ensure the waste is managed responsibly and channelled to the specific recyclers, so that none of its packaging, including plastics, end up in landfills or as litter.
“We are working constantly to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging. We are exploring new materials and whenever there is a recyclable or biodegradable solution that allows to preserve quality and safety of products, we are keen to move and adopt them. As an example, we have eliminated over 200 million plastic straws per year by swiftly adopting sustainably- sourced paper straws across all our UHT range”, said Juan Aranols, CEO of Nestle Malaysia.
“While over two thirds of the plastic we use are already recyclable, we also acknowledge that many Malaysians often have doubts on how to correctly separate waste to ensure it does not end up in litter and that it can be recycled. We believe that the general population is increasingly aware of this topic and most people want to do what is right for the environment”
“We at Nestle, while working hard to make all our packaging fully recyclable latest by 2025, we want to be also advocates of responsible waste management. We want to encourage Malaysians to recycle more and we want to help them in their understanding on how to correctly separate and manage different types of packaging waste. That’s why we are rolling out a common and simple recycling codification across all our products. By 2021, around 80% of our products will include this information system in their label”, he added.
In addition, a new collaboration with The R.Age, the impact journalism platform of The Star, will see the release of a video explaining the important role of consumers in the recycling process, and how it can help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Nestle has also launched a recycling collection programme in the People’s Housing Project (PPR) Lembah Subang 1 in Taman Putra Damai, in collaboration with waste separation and recycling solution provider, iCycle.
“Shaping a waste-free future requires a collective effort from everybody: corporations, government, NGOs, and above all, each one of us, as individuals. As we go into our daily lives, we need to take care of our waste in the most responsible way; never littering, and always trying to put the waste in the right place to be recycled or disposed safely” said Aranols.
Since 2012, Nestle has also had a successful partnership with TetraPak for its CAREton Project. Through this partnership, over 95 million used beverage cartons have been collected and recycled in the last eight years, and counting. All these recycled used beverage cartons can be turned into panel boards used to build roofing tiles for homes. Thus far, Nestle has already built 150 homes for the Orang Asli communities with the help of Epic Homes.
“Our aim is to inspire the public to adopt new behaviours and educate on recycling to avoid plastic waste, leveraging collaborations such as with business partners like 99Speedmart, ” added Aranols.
Driving sustainability across the Nestle value chain
Nestle is also very proactive in driving sustainability throughout its value chain. Nestle Paddy Club, was established in 2012 to ensure that the rice used for its cereal products is sourced sustainably and responsibly, while improving the farmers’ livelihood with a sustainable income. The project secures a long-term local supply of responsibly-sourced rice for Nestle’s infant cereals. About 225 local paddy farmers across 654ha of paddy fields in Kedah are equipped with Good Agricultural Practices which provide them with eco-friendly microbial supplements that help increase yields in a sustainable manner, and promotes more efficient usage of water and reduction of carbon emissions.
In Kelantan, the Nestle Chilli Club in Kelantan has 76 farmers involved in sustainable chilli farming on some 62ha of land since 1995. Through this initiative, agricultural expertise is shared with local farmers via training sessions to increase productivity, reduce farm costs, minimise environmental impact as well as enhance work safety measures. They are also provided with technological support to help them achieve high yields whilst meeting global standards. The programme has also been successful in improving their living standards and promoting a second generation of chilli farmers.
Nescafé Grown Respectfully, launched in 2019, is the company’s latest programme in its sustainable agriculture efforts. This coffee farming initiative is a collaborative effort with government agencies, which aims to revive the local coffee farming sector in Kedah. Under the pilot programme, Nestlé has produced over 70,000 Robusta coffee seedlings distributed to 100 local farmers for planting in Kedah. The programme supports the farmers at every stage of the coffee farming process, which in turn, results in better quality yield, improves the farmers’ livelihoods and Nestlé’s sustainable coffee supply chain.
Reforestation is another area Nestlé is actively engaging. The Company recently committed to plant three million trees in the next three years through its Project RELeaf, a reforestation initiative in Malaysia to address climate change. This is part of the company’s global pledge to achieve Zero Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050 and gives continuity to, the pioneering Kinabatangan Rileaf Project, established by Nestlé in 2011. As of September this year, one million trees have already been planted across more than 2,700ha of degraded forest. Project RELeaf will help to protect biodiversity while helping to absorb carbon emissions and reduce deforestation.
The planting will be done across the Kinabatangan Wetlands and Merisuli Forest Restoration areas in Sabah, as well as in forest reserves along the Central Forest Spine in Peninsular Malaysia. These are existing forest reserves which provide sanctuary for a great diversity of flora and fauna, including threatened wildlife.
Nestlé’s ambition is to be a driving force on the transition of the industry towards a more environmentally sustainable future. Sustainability an area where we want to make faster progress – and we want to encourage everyone to take action for a positive change. If we start addressing environmental and sustainability challenges today, we can make a huge positive impact on the world and society for tomorrow, ” said Aranols.
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