"That's why we not only want to minimize plastic consumption and collect waste, we also want to close the cycle and make more plastics infinitely recyclable," he added.
Sander Defruyt, plastics expert at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, told CNN Business that food companies face a greater challenge than other consumer companies when it comes to replacing plastic packaging.
This often gives food manufacturers the opportunity to set lower recycling targets, says Defruyt.
Nestlé hopes to create such a profitability for food-grade plastics that ensures that the material never becomes waste. According to Defruyt, the strategy could stimulate a market that hardly exists at the moment.
Nestlé also announced a $ 260 million risk fund to invest in startups that focus on sustainable packaging. The company said the total expenditure for the initiatives could reach 2 billion Swiss francs (2.1 billion US dollars).
"It is encouraging that Nestlé has finally committed to reducing dependence on new plastics," said Matthias Wüthrich, senior activist at Greenpeace Switzerland, in a statement. "If Nestlé wants to stop polluting the world, it has to end its dependency on plastic," he added, calling on the company to "completely dispose of disposable packaging."
Get rid of plastic
According to Break Free From Plastic, a global lobby group that includes Greenpeace and The Sierra Club, Nestlé is one of the world's worst plastic polluters.
According to the company's website, total consumption of plastic packaging from Nestlé was 1.7 million tons in 2018. Defruyt says that only 2% of Nestlé's plastic packaging is currently recycled.
Bottled water division Nestlé Waters is the largest of its kind in the world and manufactures products such as S. Pellegrino, Buxton and Poland Spring in 87 factories worldwide.