Nestlé yesterday unveiled a partnership between its South African popular confectionery brand, Nestlé Smarties and contemporary recycling artist Mbongeni Buthelezi as it launched the brand's 100 percent recyclable packaging in a first. Photo: Nestlé/Twitter
Nestlé yesterday unveiled a partnership between its South African popular confectionery brand, Nestlé Smarties and contemporary recycling artist Mbongeni Buthelezi as it launched the brand's 100 percent recyclable packaging in a first. Photo: Nestlé/Twitter

Nestlé Smarties creates a recycling first

By Given Majola Time of article published Apr 16, 2021

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DURBAN - Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company, yesterday unveiled a partnership between its South African popular confectionery brand, Nestlé Smarties and contemporary recycling artist Mbongeni Buthelezi as it launched the brand's 100 percent recyclable packaging in a first.

Nestlé said it was a historic moment as it was the first confectionery brand to produce a 100 percent recyclable packaging as“ two iconic South African brands partner towards a better earth”.

Buthelezi, a South African artist who became known for "painting" in plastic, is promoting #SmartiesCreateWithPurpose and has designed a digital guide for caregivers to follow in creating fun origami pieces using the brand’s recyclable paper.

Nestlé South Africa Business executive officer for confectionery Alex Villela said that the repurpose pillar spoke to an approach of the the company throughits 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,” said Villela.

The move to 100 percent recyclable paper comes as the brand transforms its packaging to be more environmentally friendly and is also line with the “Repurpose” pillar of the Nestlé's sustainability initiative.

Buthelezi said that as an artist, working with Nestlé Smarties was a great achievement.

“The entire campaign narrative and mandate purely speaks to what my work and I stand for," he said.

The move by Nestlé Smarties to environmentally packaging is part of a global trend.

The launch happened on the same day Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy said 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

The government was amending plastic bag regulations. She said 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.

A key departure from the previous waste management strategy is the strategic shift to accommodate waste reclaimers and the informal sector, by addressing their role in the circular economy.

“A key departure from the previous waste management strategy is the strategic shift to accommodate waste reclaimers and the informal sector, by addressing their role in the circular economy.

“In many towns and cities in South Africa, waste reclaimers are important actors in diverting recyclable material from landfill. Investment here will be focused on the economies associated with transporting of recyclables to waste processing facilities, separation at source, and addressing the skills gaps within the sector.

“Central to our efforts is a commitment to ensuring we transition reclaimers from a precarious hand-to-mouth existence, to sustainable and dignified livelihoods,” she said.

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