#NotTrash: Nestlé’s Poland Spring collaborates on Instagram program to boost lagging US recycling rates
20 Aug 2019 --- Nestlé’s Poland Spring Brand 100% Natural Spring Water is teaming up with nonprofit organization The Recycling Partnership to tackle one of the core reasons for low US recycling rates: Consumer confusion. Starting this month, the collaboration is launching its first Instagram recycling hotline to help to answer the common question, “Can I recycle this?”
Consumers can post a photo of the item in question on their Instagram feed or in their stories tagging #NotTrash and @PolandSpringWtr to ask for help. Poland Spring and The Recycling Partnership will get back to them with an answer.
The collaboration hopes to boost low recycling levels in the US. Less than 30 percent of plastic bottles are currently recycled in the nation, and less than half of recyclables in homes get recycled by consumers, according to statistics shared by Poland Spring. Similarly, a Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) study found in April that while Americans are more “environmentally concerned” than ever before, they are experiencing widespread confusion about what can and cannot be recycled.
“Consumers are at the heart of everything we do and that means we are constantly listening to them to understand their needs and preferences,” says Yumiko Clevenger-Lee, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Nestlé Waters North America. “What we’re hearing is that consumers are concerned and confused about plastic bottles.”
“We’re working on innovations like our recently launched and nationally available Poland Spring ORIGIN in a 100 percent recycled plastic bottle. And we’re taking it a step further by working with organizations like The Recycling Partnership to help remove some of the confusion about recycling,” she adds.
Poland Spring is also donating US$150,000 to The Recycling Partnership to help improve curbside access to recycling and inspire more Americans to recycle more, with better efficiency.
“We are thrilled Poland Spring is joining The Recycling Partnership, and we’re excited about our collaboration on the #NotTrash campaign,” says Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. “Consumers play a critical role in reducing waste and improving markets for recyclable materials by recycling properly. Debunking common recycling myths empowers residents to do their part to recycle better, which improves their local recycling programs, helps create a healthier US recycling system and is good for the planet.”
Nestlé’s move towards an rPET portfolio
Globally, Nestlé has demonstrated its commitment to leading the industry in the use of recycled plastic (rPET). Its goal is to increase the rPET content in its water bottles to 35 percent globally by 2025. Poland Spring’s current packaging, which is made from PET plastic, is already 100 percent recyclable.
“We’re on a mission to eliminate the ‘single’ from ‘single-use’ plastics,” says David Tulauskas, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters North America. “When valuable plastic like PET is not recycled, it can’t be broken down and reused to make new products, which is a waste of money and resources.”
“On the other hand, as more consumers recycle their PET bottles, they increase the number of bottles that can be made with bottles and reduce the need for virgin plastic. Working with partners like The Recycling Partnership helps to make recycling as convenient as possible for consumers,” he adds.
In June, the brand made the industry-leading commitment to convert all its individual-sized still water bottles to 100 percent recycled plastic by 2022. The conversion has started already, with their 1 liter and 1.5 liter still water sizes being made with 100 percent recycled plastic. The brand is also expanding How2Recycle labels across all of its packaging, to remind consumers to empty the bottle, replace the cap and recycle.
Also in June, natural mineral water brand Valvert in Belgium launched its bottle made entirely from rPET, a first for Nestlé in Europe.
In addition to packaging innovations, Nestlé Waters North America also supports recycling infrastructure through investments with organizations like the Closed Loop Fund to help increase recycling capabilities throughout the US.
Other global players are engaging with the move towards rPET, which has become a common goal in the drive towards a circular economy style model for plastics. Evian teamed up with recycling advocates RECOUP to supply the Wimbledon 2019 tennis championship with bottled water packaged in 100 percent rPET plastic. Also, PepsiCo announced that its premium bottled water brand LIFEWTR will be packaged in 100 percent rPET and that bubly sparkling water will no longer be packaged in plastic by 2020.
Edited by Laxmi Haigh
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