Nestlé Smarties launches 100% recyclable packaging, collaborates with South African artist to curate art pieces

SOUTH AFRICA – Nestlé through its South African popular confectionery brand, Nestlé Smarties, has switched to 100% recyclable paper packaging.

To celebrate this milestone, the brand has collaborated with contemporary recycling artist, Mbongeni Buthelezi, to design a digital guide for caregivers and children to follow in creating fun origami pieces using the brand’s recyclable paper.

According to the food manufacturing giant, the collaboration is intended to drive the brand’s #SmartiesCreateWithPurpose narrative which is set to inspire conscious creativity by using recyclable goods.

“Essentially, the purpose of the collaboration is for Buthelezi, through his craft, to inspire and stimulate creativity among South Africans, through his use of the NESTLÉ SMARTIES new 100% recyclable packaging.

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“We hope that caregivers and their children will find it fun and an engaging way to educate children on planet sustainability issues through the creative expressions in repurposing the paper packaging,” says Alex Villela, Business Executive Officer, Confectionery at Nestlé South Africa.

The move to 100% recyclable paper is a great showcase of the brand’s dedication to transform their packaging to be more environmentally friendly.

“The repurpose pillar speaks to an approach, where as a company and through our brands, we believe we need to move away from the idea of waste and apply circular economy principles of finding new use of ‘waste’ materials into the creation of new things.”

Alex Villela – Business Executive Officer, Confectionery at Nestlé South Africa.

It also tangibly brings to life the ‘Repurpose’ pillar of the Nestlé ‘RE’ sustainability initiative.

“The repurpose pillar speaks to an approach, where as a company and through our brands, we believe we need to move away from the idea of waste and apply circular economy principles of finding new use of ‘waste’ materials into the creation of new things. We are proud that NESTLÉ SMARTIES is a tangible proof point of this approach,” adds Villela.

Buthelezi, is a South African artist who became known for “painting” in plastic and a firm advocate of using his creativity and imagination in a purposeful manner that seeks to preserve our environment.

“Working with NESTLÉ SMARTIES is a great achievement for me as an artist. The entire campaign narrative and mandate purely speaks to what my work and I stand for.

“Being able to curate art pieces for children using the NESTLÉ SMARTIES new 100% recyclable paper packaging has been an exciting yet challenging task for me as an artist,” shares Mbongeni Buthelezi.

Buthelezi’s work communicates hope. He uses his artwork to actively promote change in an artistic way, well-known as activism art in which he uses recyclable material to create with.

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He is convinced that by telling his story and depicting his history through his artwork, he can change the path of the younger artists who will follow him and with this NESTLÉ SMARTIES collaboration.

South Africa targets to make plastic bags using 100% post-recyclate material by 2027

The launch happened concurrently with the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy announcing that South Africa had seen significant initiatives by the Consumer Goods Council to eliminate single use plastics, promote changes in product design to facilitate recycling and invest in research and development to promote new products made from plastic, reports IOL.

The government on its part has amended the plastic bag regulations, indicating that all plastic bags must be made of a minimum of 50 percent post-recyclate material from January 1 this year, 75 percent recycled materials from the start of 2025, and must comprise 100 percent post-consumer recyclate by 2027.

“These targets will be met by ensuring that post-consumer recyclate is made up of household, industrial and commercial waste diverted from landfills, thus further entrenching circularity in waste management and product development,” Creecy said.

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