Nestlé Mexico has signed an agreement, its first outside of Europe, with UK-based company Greenback Recycling Technologies to build a chemical recycling plant capable of processing flexible plastic packaging in Mexico. The plant will address the challenge of recycling post-consumer plastic waste in the country and help to implement a circular economy for plastic packaging.
The agreement targets plastic packaging not currently recycled, including multilayer flexible and aluminum-laminated plastics, and aims to meet the technical and commercial requirements to ensure the circularity of food-grade plastics.
The plant will use an innovative microwave-induced pyrolysis technology developed by Enval, a UK-based chemical recycling company. It transforms plastics into oil feedstock to produce new plastic, effectively closing the loop on packaging recycling and enabling previously unrecyclable packaging to become valuable and environmentally responsible. It is claimed to be the only technology capable of recycling plastic aluminum laminates by splitting them into high-value oil and aluminum with a low-carbon footprint.
The project will enable the recycling of approximately 6,000 tons of flexible plastic packaging in its first year, with sustained growth in volumes and installed capacity expected over time.
Nestlé will also invest in the adaptation to the Mexican waste ecosystem and market of Greenback's eco2Veritas circularity platform, which provides complete traceability of the neutralization and recycling process.
The company's alliance with Greenback and Enval aligns with its objective of reducing its plastic footprint while continuing the path towards achieving a waste-free future.
‘Making safe recycled plastics for food packaging is a huge challenge for our industry. Therefore, in addition to minimizing the use of plastics and collecting waste, we want to close the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable,’ commented Fausto Costa, Nestlé Mexico’s CEO. ‘This project with Greenback and Enval fully supports the mission of ensuring that our plastic packaging is not only recyclable but actually recycled. It also ensures that we are drastically reducing plastic waste pollution and supports our work with local communities.’
Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, founder and CEO of Enval, added: ‘This project demonstrates the importance of collaboration between companies at different stages of the supply chain to tackle the challenge of plastics in the environment. At Enval, we know that plastics are not the enemy and that these materials have a valuable role in our daily lives. However, we also know that there is no reason they should end up in the sea or on top of a mountain. Our technology allows the recycling of packaging that was previously considered unrecyclable, and we are delighted that our first plant, in collaboration with an FMCG as committed to sustainability as Nestlé and in partnership with Greenback, will be soon operating in Mexico.’
In April 2021, Nestlé Mexico became the first company in the country to neutralize all the equivalent plastic from its post-consumer waste voluntarily. With this new agreement, the company endorses its commitment to using innovation and technology to move from virgin plastic to recycled food-grade plastic, in line with its vision of finding effective technologies to prevent its packaging from ending up in landfills or as garbage.