San José, Costa Rica. In early 2019, Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company, announced globally its most ambitious vision for a waste-free future; that none of their post-consumer packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfills or oceans as trash. Today, less than two years later, Nestlé Costa Rica becomes the company's first market in America and the second in the world, only behind Nestlé Philippines, in neutralizing the equivalent of 100% of its post-consumer plastic waste during the recent month of October.
“We are very pleased to announce that, as part of our commitment to continue advancing in actions to reduce the impact on the planet, Nestlé Costa Rica has managed to collect and divert 56.6 tons of plastic waste from landfills and oceans during this month of October, an amount equivalent to 100% of the monthly amount of waste generated by our post-consumer packaging”, explained Sandra Jiménez, general manager of Nestlé Costa Rica.
Nestlé Costa Rica's plastic neutrality process and its commitment to maintain it, is possible thanks to the support of local partners who share the same vision of the company to achieve a zero waste future. Nestlé's process and certification as neutral plastic was carried out with the support of the company Geocycle Costa Rica, experts in waste management and co-processing, who are responsible for recovering post-consumer plastics from sorted municipal waste, valorizing them through its coprocessing in the cement manufacturing process at the Holcim Costa Rica plant.
Co-processing is the technology that recovers waste by using industrial processes, to transform it into useful resources and thus promoting the development of circular economy initiatives. Geocycle Costa Rica, as a Carbon Neutral company and certified under ISO-9001 quality standards and ISO-14001 environmental standards, has installed the first industrial-scale plant for the separation and recovery of municipal waste in the Aczarrí Environmental Technology Park, landfill located in El Huaso de Aserrí, San José. Project that annually helps to divert from landfill tens of thousands of tons of municipal waste, allowing full traceability to certificate the recovery and valorization of post-consumer plastic waste.
Wilkie Mora, General Manager of Geocycle Costa Rica, underlines the importance of the leadership role that organizations have in building a better future for the whole of society. “Understanding the inescapable duty of being the ones who contribute our best to the mission of protecting the planet, Geocycle and the LafargeHolcim Group promote high-tech solutions to mitigate the impact that as a society we generate on our environment. We thank and congratulate Nestlé Costa Rica for making the decision to be part of this solution” said Mora.
Oscar Rivas, Head of Business Development for Geocycle in Latin America, mentions that “Nestlé Costa Rica's achievement is a milestone in the region, and will surely motivate other companies to follow their footsteps to actively contribute to a sustainable management of their post-consumer packaging waste”.
At Nestlé Costa Rica we are very pleased to have partners such as Geocycle, who share our vision of a planet without waste and allow us to join forces to achieve it. With the strategic support of Geocycle, this milestone of being plastic neutral joins other achievements in which we also work, such as being Zero Waste in our
administrative offices, reducing the use of plastic in our packaging and encouraging education programs on the handling of waste that we will make known in detail during 2021”, added Jiménez.
Accelerating the journey to a waste-free future. As the world's largest food and beverage company, Nestlé is committed to taking the lead in the challenge of plastic waste. At a global level, the company announced that by 2025 all of its packaging will be 100% recyclable and / or reusable.
The company's goal is that none of its packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfills abandoned in the environment or in the seas and oceans. To achieve our commitment and address this complex and urgent problem, Nestlé works a holistic approach that includes three focus areas:
1. Develop packaging for the future, through innovation in packaging and delivery formats, as well as reducing the use of plastic.
2. Help create a waste-free future through increased collection and recycling infrastructure.
3. Promote new behaviors and a greater understanding of the problem, through education on the proper management of solid waste.
Claudia Alvarado, Nestlé Central America sustainability manager, affirms that in the region the company is taking important steps to contribute to this global goal. "This achievement is a reflection of the efforts that we carry out from within our operations, such as Zero Waste in our offices, factories and distribution centers, and that step by step we are extending to our entire value chain," Alvarado explained.
The administrative offices and the distribution center of Nestlé Costa Rica are examples of the above. Thanks to a philosophy of conscious management of resources that includes a greater recovery and reuse of waste so as not to impact landfills, the offices are in the process of being Zero Waste and the Distribution Center has managed to reduce the waste generated by 100% for non-conforming products.
“In the Distribution Center in Costa Rica, a 100% reduction in non-conforming products sent to the sanitary landfill has been achieved during the last year, which is equivalent to 90 tons less in relation to 2019. In addition, the products that must be discarded are managed consciously, through actions such as separating food packaging. The former are fully re-valorized and the latter are sent to farms for animal consumption”, Alvarado explained.
Nestlé markets in Costa Rica a wide range of items, from specialized nutrition products for children to pet food, under well-known brands such as Gerber, Nido, NAN, Nestum, Milo, Maggi, Nescafé, KitKat, Crunch, La Lechera, Ideal and Purina; among other.