Case Study: Innovations in Bottled Water Packaging

Sep 18, 2012 10:20 AM ET
ECOSHAPE:The lightest branded half-litre bottle on the American market.

One priority is the bottle itself, and the company has made progress in reducing the bottle’s environmental footprint by introducing innovative, lighterweight packaging. The carbon embedded in the purchased PET resin for the bottle accounted for 55% of NWNA’s greenhouse gas emissions, so in the fifteen years to 2007, NWNA reduced the amount of PETplastic in its bottles by 40%. Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) continues to invest in improving its environmental performance, with the objective of having the industry’s lightest environmental footprint per unit of product.

Programme description

The company plans to reduce plastic in its half-litre bottles by an additional 15% by 2010. In addition, since 1994, NWNA has manufactured 98% of its PET packaging in its plants, saving the energy required to ship 160,000 truckloads of empty bottles to its sites.

This investment in packaging technology is backed up by a commitment to recycling. The returnable bottles for its American Direct-to-Home & Office business get used thirty-five times. When their useful life is up, the majority are recycled into products such as lawn furniture, synthetic lumber and outdoor sheds.

Value to Society

The EcoShape bottle, launched in 2007, achieved a further 14% reduction in plastic used, and weighs only 12.5 grams on average. It remains the lightest branded half-litre bottle on the American market. We estimate that it will save more than 88 million kilograms of resin and help avoid more than 356,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions from its launch to the end of 2009.

Next Steps

In terms of public recycling, America only has about a 25% plastic recycle rate and only about half of Americans have access to curbside recycling.

NWNA is advancing the goal of a minimum 60% recycling rate for PET beverage bottles by 2018 through partnerships, coalition-building, consumer education, improved curbside recycling programmes and policy initiatives.