Nestlé USA, best known for its water, coffee and chocolate products, has announced a milestone: Effective today, all of its U.S.-based factories are now landfill-free.
In 2014, Nestle Global announced that 15 percent of its factories worldwide (72 in total) had attained zero-landfill status, exceeding its target for 2015. The addition of U.S. manufacturing centers to this list is part of the company's global effort to retool the way it handles waste and product manufacturing.
“Environmental sustainability is part of Nestlé’s commitment to creating shared value in society,” said Paul Grimwood, CEO of Nestlé USA. “This is an especially noteworthy achievement given the breadth and complexity of our manufacturing operations across a variety of categories." Grimwood noted that the announcement was a reflection of the company's environmental commitment.
Nestlé USA, which manufactures products for the U.S.-based consumer market, has 23 factories, 43 distribution centers and 13 sales offices across the country, and it's staffed by more than 23,000 employees. In 2014, the company reported sales of $9.7 billion, almost 11 percent of Nestle Global's total sales.
As part of Nestlé's ongoing effort to attain sustainable manufacturing processes across all of its markets, says the corporation, the company now manufactures its recyclable water bottles with 50 percent recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) materials. With a U.S. market share of more than 50 percent, the conversion to recycled PET helps to contribute to Nestlé's ongoing effort to attain a reputation as a sustainable company.
While Nesté USA already has a long list of accomplishments in integrating green operations into its supply chain (both its Little Chute, Wisconsin, and its Anderson, Indiana, operations have received kudos for innovative changes that help reduce their carbon footprints), the recent announcement did not mention whether the company's plastic waste was included in its latest stats. Even with the increased use of recycled PET these days, more than 80 percent of the water bottles manufactured by today's water companies still end up in the landfill.
Changing consumer behavior when it comes to packaging disposal can be a lot harder than retooling and converting the manufacturing methods in a network of factories. Perhaps with Nesté's continued success in the green arena, it will be able to find a way to create packaging that is more reusable, or programs that raise consumers' efforts to recycle empty beverage bottles. Zero-landfill accomplishments start at the manufacturing level, we agree, but they really come into their own when the company's consumer base follows suit.
Nestlé logo: Nestlé
Nestlé HQ, Switzerland:Port(u*o)s
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.