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Deal with Nestlé sees first plant in Mexico for full circularity of food grade plastic packaging

Nestlé Mexico, Greenback and Enval are to install the first plant in Mexico to achieve full circularity of food grade plastic packaging.

  • In the first phase, the project will process up to 6,000 tons of flexible plastic packaging in year one.

  • Nestlé Mexico is the first consumer goods company in the country to back the circular economy by guaranteeing access to recycled food-grade plastics.

Nestlé Mexico announced the signing of an agreement, the first outside Europe, with the UK company, Greenback Recycling Technologies, to install a chemical recycling plant capable of processing flexible plastic packaging. This will address the challenge of post-consumer plastic waste that is difficult to recycle in the country, thus contributing to promoting a circular economy.

The plant will employ an innovative microwave-induced pyrolysis technology (developed by Enval, a UK chemical recycling company) to transform valueless plastic packaging into pyrolysis oil that can be used in the petrochemical industry to manufacture new products with post-consumer recycled content. Enval’s technology is unique in that it also allows the recycling of aluminum from ultra-effective but hitherto impossible-to-recycle packaging.

The ambitious project will enable circularity of up to 6,000 tons of flexible plastic packaging in the first year, with expected sustained growth in both volume and installed capacity in the country. In addition, Nestlé will be investing in the adaptation to the Mexican waste ecosystem and market of Greenback's eco2Veritas Circularity Platform, which provides complete traceability of the neutralisation and recycling process.

"Making safe recycled plastics for food packaging is a huge challenge for our industry. Therefore, in addition to minimising the use of plastics and collecting waste, we want to close the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable. This project with Greenback and Enval fully supports the mission of ensuring that our plastic packaging is not only recyclable, but actually recycled; it ensures that we are drastically reducing plastic waste pollution and supports our work with local communities," commented Fausto Costa, CEO at Nestlé Mexico.

The Swiss company's alliance with the advanced recycling technology companies (focused on certified circular solutions for packaging waste) is part of the objective of reducing its plastic footprint in the environment and continuing the path towards the goal of achieving a waste-free future.

Philippe von Stauffenberg, founder and CEO of Greenback, said: "This project in Mexico will tackle the unresolved problem of turning multi-laminate and mixed plastics that are difficult to recycle into a recyclable waste stream. The aim is to reduce the challenges that exist in packaging recycling, transforming these waste resources into pyrolysis oil that can be used for the manufacture of certified recycled food-grade packaging."

Carlos Ludlow, founder and CEO of Enval commented: "This project with Nestle Mexico and Greenback shows the importance of teamwork between companies from different parts of the value chain to face the challenge of plastics in the environment. At Enval, we know that plastics are not the enemy but are materials that improve our lives but must not end up as pollution. We are very pleased to know that our first plant, in collaboration with a company as recognized as Nestle and in partnership with Greenback, will soon be operational in Mexico."

In April 2021, Nestlé Mexico became the first company in the country to neutralise all the equivalent plastic from its post-consumer waste, on a voluntary basis. With this new agreement, the world's leading company in Nutrition, Health and Wellness endorses its commitment to make use of innovation and technology to move from virgin plastic to recycled food-grade plastic, in line with the vision of finding effective solutions to prevent its packaging from ending up in landfills or as garbage.

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