By Sam Lewis
Top food companies partner with World Wildlife Fund to support growth of bioplastics
The Bioplastics Feedstock Alliance (BFA) received another major company in its already impressive list of brands. Nestlé announced on Tuesday, Nov. 19 it will join the ranks of Coca-Cola, Danone, Heinz, Unilever, and several other non-food corporations with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in search of sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based products.
As sustainability becomes more and more of a global issue, the BFA aims to lead the way in the responsible selection and harvest of agricultural products like bulrush, corn, sugar cane, and switchgrass used to create bioplastics. “Joining the alliance means we will be able to help build a more sustainable future for the bioplastics industry, while addressing issues such as land use, food security, and biodiversity,” says Anne Roulin, global research and development sustainability manager at Nestlé.
The BFA will bring together bioplastics industry experts with leaders of the political and academic worlds to address and guide the selections of materials for alternatives to petroleum-based products in food packaging. "Ensuring that our crops are used responsibly to create bioplastics is a critical conservation goal, especially as the global population is expected to grow rapidly through 2050," says Erin Simon, of WWF.
Nestlé is currently using bioplastics made from sugar cane and other plant-based materials in some of its products. Several sizes of the company’s VITTEL brand bottled water have been packaged in a Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle made of 30 percent plant-based material since 2012. Additionally, the Brazilian segment of Nestlé launched bioplastic caps on popular milk brand Ninho and Molico back in 2011.
Moving forward, Nestlé’s primary interest lies in second generation bioplastics. This means the packaging materials will be made from by-products like molasses and sugar cane residue, created in the agriculture, forestry, and the food industries. The company also hopes to include non-food sources, like algae, cellulose, and waste products, into its second generation bioplastics packaging.
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