Nestle leads FMCG brands in launching association to fight plastic waste in Malaysia

MALAYSIA – Nestlé S.A., the world’s largest food company, is leading other major fast moving consumer goods companies, to launch a new alliance that will tackle plastic food and beverage packaging concerns. 

Known as the Malaysian Recycling Alliance (MAREA), the association is the first-ever Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) in Malaysia. 

Other members include – Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Dutch Lady Milk Industries, Etika Group of Companies, F&N Malaysia, Mondelēz International (Malaysia), Spritzer, Tetra Pak Malaysia, and Unilever Malaysia. 

The brands are joining forces to drive the sustainability agenda in Malaysia and will particularly focus on tackling the country’s plastic food and beverage packaging concerns. 

The association chaired by Nestle Malaysia CEO Juan Aranols has set itself an ambitious goal of reaching a minimum recycling rate of 25% of packaging volumes by 2025. 

Research by the World Bank Group and local ministries have shown that Malaysia produces some 1.1 million tons of plastic waste each year. 

Additionally, a WWF report also revealed Malaysia takes the second top spot in Asia for per capita plastic use (16.78kg), beating out larger countries such as China and Indonesia.  

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Nestle Malaysia CEO notes that the APAC region will accumulate some 40 million tons of plastic waste by 2030 with Malaysia playing a large part in this.  

The association however hopes to reverse this scenario by augmenting the recycling capabilities of the member corporates.  

“Although we can be fierce competitors in the market, we also know that working together is necessary to address the plastic challenge that faces us [as] together we manufacture daily products for millions of consumers,” said Aranols at the launch event. 

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Amongst MAREA’s practical plans are to establish curbside collection systems to do weekly collections from select households. 

This is in addition to promoting Separation At Source (SAS) by consumers via consumer education initiatives and working with recyclers to stabilize collection costs via subsidisation.  

PepsiCo Europe to cut virgin plastic from its chip bags by 2030 

Meanwhile, PepsiCo Europe has announced plans to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastics from all its chip and crisp bags by 2030.  

The new target is part of its Pep+ transformation strategy that aims to place sustainability at the heart of PepsiCo’s business. 

It is a big commitment from PepsiCo in a bid to tackle a big problem: plastic pollution which continues to mar the sustainability profiles of many CPG companies.  

If current trends continue it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  

And crisp packets are a particularly thorny issue as they, in addition to snack and sweet wrappers, are consistently one of the top categories identified in marine litter surveys.  

PepsiCo’s efforts will span its billion-dollar snack brands including Walkers, Doritos, and Lays.  

The move away from virgin plastic will be delivered by switching to 100% recycled or renewable plastic in its packets, the company said.  

Consumer trials of the packaging will begin in European markets in 2022, starting with renewable plastic in a Lay’s range in France in the first half of the year. 

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