Candy Bar Wrappers Go Plastic Free
For the first time since its launch in 1936, Nestlé is changing the packaging of their famous Mars candy bar wrapper for a more environmentally friendly alternative.
Traditionally, candy bar wrappers are made out of a combination of aluminum and plastic. These materials are difficult to recycle because of how hard it is to separate the two materials. Moreover, the plastic is not biodegradable and can take 10-20 years to decompose. This is at the risk of pieces remaining in the environment longer than that. At the end of their short life, candy bar wrappers will inevitably end up either in landfills or the environment.
New Jersey based TerraCycle has implemented a candy bar wrapper recycling program to address this problem, collecting used wrappers from individuals and institutions.
Candy bar wrappers are recycled at TerraCycle through a process called mechanical recycling. This process involves shredding the wrappers into small pieces, washing them to remove any contaminants, and then melting them down to create new plastic pellets. These pellets can then be used to make new products, such as benches, flower pots, or playground equipment.
TerraCycle offers a variety of recycling programs for candy bar wrappers. These programs are available to individuals, schools, businesses, and organizations. To participate in a program, the only cost is to purchase a collection kit from TerraCycle. The collection kit includes a shipping label and a prepaid shipping box.
Once you have purchased a collection kit, you can collect candy bar wrappers. You can collect wrappers from your own home, school, or workplace. When the collection kit is full, you can ship it back to TerraCycle for recycling.
Nestlé Steps Up
Nestlé is taking the problem of candy bar wrapper waste one step further by completely changing what their chocolates are packaged in. The company is piloting a program to wrap its Mars bars in recyclable paper.
The company also announced that it would be switching the plastic packaging on KitKat bars to 80% recycled plastic, allowing them to be recycled at supermarkets across the UK or put in household recycling bins in Ireland. This is an initiative that could save 1900 tonnes of CO2 annually.
In addition, the company is looking to explore new types of packaging. Nestle is investing hundreds of millions of pounds to redesign thousands of types of packaging. This investment will be put towards meeting its goal of reducing the use of virgin plastics by one-third by 2025. The company also plans for over 95% of its plastic packaging to be designed for recycling by 2025.
Nestlé’s Institute of Packaging Science has been working since 2019 to develop the next generation of packaging materials. In addition to recyclable packaging materials, they are looking at developing refillable or reusable packaging and how to incorporate compostable and biodegradable materials. The Institute’s strategy focuses on five pillars, all of which are linked to reducing waste:
- Reducing the use of plastic packaging material
- Scaling reusable and refillable systems
- Designing better packaging materials
- Supporting infrastructure to help make recycling easier
- Shaping new behaviours
Nestlé is a global food and beverage company that has been criticized for its water bottling operations. Critics argue that Nestle is extracting too much water from local communities, often with no meaningful compensation to local jurisdictions and areas already facing water shortages. Some have argued that the company doesn’t sell water; the company sells single-use bottles. Bottles that contribute to pollution and environmental damage.
The need for bottled water, is of course, a marketing ploy. Critics argue that Nestle’s marketing campaigns make bottled water seem like a healthier and more convenient alternative to tap water, even though there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
The plastic-free Mars bars will be available at 500 Tesco stores in the UK for a limited time.