Nestlé launches first recyclable paper wrappers for mass production
Snack bars will be the first line to use recyclable paper wrappers that can biodegrade in six months.
In 2018, the Swiss company pledged to make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025; now the company is taking the first big step in that direction. Nestlé announced that it is relaunching its Yes! snack bar line in a new recyclable paper wrapper.
The new paper wrapper will degrade in a marine environment in just six months, rather than the hundreds of years needed for plastic products to degrade.
This is the first time a candy bar will be wrapped in paper using the so-called high-speed flow wrap technology, which previously could only be used with more durable plastic products.
It took experts at the company's research and development in York in the United Kingdom less than ten months to overcome more than 90 challenges to develop the material and to adapt the machinery, according to Jas Scott de Martinville, global confectionery research and development lead for Nestle.
"What’s unique about this innovation is, first and foremost, running paper packaging at high speed on existing machinery, 300-bars-per-minute, that’s the first bit of uniqueness," she told Metro. "The second bit of uniqueness is guaranteeing a standard shelf-life of nine months, so having a barrier paper that keeps the product at its freshest over that time; and the third element of it is to ensure, as we run at these high speeds, the bars are properly sealed, again to ensure the product is kept at its freshest."
The Yes! snack bar line was specifically chosen because it is a healthy snack that is made of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The nutbars are vegetarian and a good source of protein and fiber, while the fruit and vegetable bars are vegan, lactose-free, and have no added sugar.
Every Yes! bar will use the new wrappers beginning in July 2019 and will carry the message, "carefully wrapped in paper," according to Scott de Martinville.
"Consumers are looking for more natural and sustainable options when they choose a snack, both in terms of ingredients and packaging," said Patrice Bula, head of strategic business units, marketing and sales at Nestlé in the company news release.
The sustainably sourced paper wrapper will be released in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. More countries in Europe will follow soon.
The company, which hasn't been a stranger to controversies in the past, is trying to do the right thing when it comes to taking care of the environment. Beginning in February 2019, Nestlé started to remove plastic straws from all its products and Nesquik is now available in paper packaging while Smarties candy will soon be plastic free. The company is also a founding investor and partner in the zero waste company Loop.
The company has not patented the new wrapping technology as a way to encourage other companies to use the same packaging method, according to the Financial Times. Some organizations, like Greenpeace, who have been very critical of Nestlé's plastic use say that the change didn't go far enough because it only replaced one type of disposable wrappers.
The solution may not be perfect, but it shows that the mammoth food company is serious about its commitment to be more sustainable. Hopefully, more companies will follow Nestlé's lead.