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Nestle cuts plastic packaging for Easter eggs

By Lindsey Partos , 24-Feb-2009

Confectionery giant Nestle has removed plastic packaging from around 80 per cent of its shell Easter eggs in a move to further its green credentials.

The Swiss firm said the decision to swap from plastic casing around Easter eggs to cardboard will save hundreds of tonnes of waste and result in a 30 per cent reduction in the weight of packaging for the affected products.

“Changes to our Easter eggs have resulted in over 700 tonnes less waste being sent to landfill and has also benefited retailers as packaging reductions will maximise distribution efficiency and in-store shelf utilisation," said Ralf Fiala, head of packaging at Nestle UK.

This latest move follows a host of recent initiatives by Nestlé UK to meet its target to reduce packaging by 10 per cent by 2010, against a 2006 baseline.

Nestle, along with other UK food firms that includes Cadbury, Coca Cola and Kellogg's, is a signatory to the Waste & Resources Action Programme's (WRAP) Courtauld Commitment, a best-practice initiative that seeks to slash waste in both packaging and food.

According to the Swiss company, packaging is regularly assessed to find ways of reducing weight and volume 'as much as possible', as well as improving the recyclability and compatibility of packaging with existing waste management schemes.

New packaging materials and processes that improve environmental impact are 'constantly being sought', said the firm.

Packaging savings see transport needs cut by 350 trailers

Between 2006 and 2008, Nestlé reduced the packaging surrounding its small Easter eggs by 30 per cent, mug eggs by 14 per cent and adult/premium eggs by 24 per cent.

For Easter 2009, in addition to cutting the weight of packaging for their small eggs by another 30 per cent, medium eggs will be cut by 27 per cent and adult/premium eggs by 23 per cent. This results in a weight saving of 784 tonnes of packaging.

"This reduction in carton size for the small and medium eggs has enabled a greater number of cartons to be packed within each pallet, reducing transportation needs by around 350 trailers," said the confectionery giant.

Nestle ups recycled plastic use

Any plastic material used for Easter Egg packaging now uses a minimum of 50 per cent recycled plastic (rPET), which comes from plastic waste, 'saving hundreds of tonnes of virgin material'.

Nestlé has also replaced the rigid plastic casing that surrounds their small and medium egg ranges (known as RPET thermoforming) with a carton board fitment.

Cartons for all Nestlé Easter eggs are made from cardboard containing at least 75 per cent recycled fibres and, says the company, can be recycled through local authority collection schemes.

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