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Biffa and Nestlé Waters UK partner to deliver 100% rPET made from British recycled plastic

Nestle Buxton
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Sep 22, 2020

Nestlé Waters UK and Biffa, the UK’s leading sustainable waste management business have announced a new partnership to help drive a circular economy for plastics in the UK.

Biffa will be supporting Nestlé Waters UK to achieve its commitment of making every Buxton bottle from 100% recycled PET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate or rPET) by 2021, by collecting recyclable PET bottles and reprocessing them here in the UK into rPET.

The partnership will enable Nestlé Waters UK to significantly reduce the amount of virgin plastic in circulation and lead the shift to using high-quality food-grade recycled PET in the UK, which, at the moment, is sourced from Europe.

Plastic is a lightweight, durable and low energy-intensity packaging material that when recycled properly can play a sustainable role in modern life, helping to shape a waste-free, lower carbon future.

The partnership, which is being announced during the 17th year of WRAP’s Recycle Week, is further demonstration of Nestlé Waters’ commitment to help consumers do more to recycle their plastics and ensure PET plastic is recovered, recycled and reused.

Biffa has set a target to quadruple its plastic recycling by 2030, and the rPET supplied to Nestlé Waters will come from the company’s new £27.5m state-of-the-art plastic recycling facility in Seaham, County Durham.

Biffa plastic recycling

The plant has the capacity to process the equivalent of 1.3bn plastic bottles each year and will supply recycled material to Nestlé Waters’ Buxton factory from 2021.

Michel Beneventi, Managing Director for Nestlé Waters UK, said: “This is a hugely significant step forwards in achieving our commitment of making our Buxton range from 100% rPET. By working together, sharing expertise across our companies to advance PET recycling for circularity, I believe we can be a force for good, helping to create positive, long-lasting impact and change for the planet.

“Having access to a local rPET supply reduces the carbon footprint of producing, sourcing and transporting our packaging from outside the UK and demonstrates the value that plastic drinks bottles have when they are recycled.

“Nestlé Waters has ambitious commitments to sustainability, with a pledge for all its brands to be carbon neutral by 2025. This collaboration with Biffa is a big step towards helping us achieve that and making a circular system for plastics a reality.

“We are very proud of our collaboration and what we will can achieve by working together.”

Chris Hanlon, Commercial Manager, Biffa Polymers, said: “At Biffa, a key pillar of our sustainability strategy is to help build a circular economy in the UK, part of which is to help our customers develop sustainable packaging that can fit into the closed-loop recycling system that we are working to develop. The collaboration with Nestlé Waters UK is a great example of this strategy in action, using recycled plastic to manufacture plastic bottles for resale. It demonstrates that when used correctly, plastic can have a sustainable role in modern life and we’re very much looking forward to working with Nestlé Waters UK and helping it to achieve its recycling goals."

Helen Bird, Strategic Engagement Manager at WRAP, said: “We are very pleased to see two of our UK Plastics Pact members embracing the spirit of collaboration on which the Pact is founded. It is only by working together, across the supply chain, that we can reduce our reliance on virgin plastics and bring an end to plastic pollution. Using recycled plastic in the manufacture of new plastic products and packaging is the whole point of recycling, and announcements like this help give confidence to the UK recycling industry to invest in new capacity, so that we can keep even more plastic in use and out of the environment.”