The companies have already provided CHF5m ($5.3m) over 10 years to focus on the research and development of sustainable materials such as alternative packaging to enable the reduction of plastic waste.
The funding will also support a new chair, to be appointed as a tenure-track Assistant Professor, for sustainable materials research within EPFL's Institute of Materials. He or she will be responsible for developing and implementing a new research program on sustainable materials.
Research topics of interest will address critical areas, such as the overall environmental impact of materials and the exploration of bio-based, bio-degradable and recyclable materials, including high-performance paper-based barrier materials that could help to address environmental concerns about plastic packaging, and more, the joint companies said in a statement.
Stefan Palzer, Nestlé chief technology officer said: "Tackling plastic pollution is a top priority for Nestlé. We continue our efforts to pilot novel approaches for re-use packaging, while also evaluating new recycling technologies and sustainable packaging materials. The development of high performing, environmentally friendly materials requires a fundamental understanding of material structures and properties, which is why we are collaborating with our innovation partners to invest in sustainable material research at EPFL."
He said the discovery and development of functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions is a key focus for Nestlé.
In 2018, the company announced its Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences as an important step further to achieve the company’s commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. The Institute’s broader research partnership with EPFL includes a four-year agreement to support postdoctoral and PhD projects aimed at developing and testing life-cycle engineered food packaging.