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Smarties keeps all its colours, but goes green

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Apr 17, 2021

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Nestle Smarties is no longer just a beloved colourful, chocolate-coated nibble for all ages, but is now also a brand which is actively contributing towards the sustainability of the environment.

This week, it announced it had moved to 100% recyclable paper packaging, becoming the first global confectionery brand to do this.

The re-branding for the button-shaped sweets will mean 12 tons of plastic will be removed from the environment in South Africa.

During the announcement this week on YouTube, prominent climate change activist Catherine Constantinides said this move would not only create awareness around recycling but contribute towards a cleaner environment.

“This type of change is meaningful and has a long-lasting impact on sustainability and the environment at large,” she said.

To celebrate the milestone, Nestlé Smarties partnered with renowned waste and sustainability artist Mbongeni Buthelezi to drive their #SmartiesCreateWithPurpose narrative to inspire conscious creativity by using recyclable goods.

KZN-born waste and sustainability artist Mbongeni Buthelezi making art from the new Smarties packing.

The local artist designed a digital guide for children, teachers, parents and other caregivers to create fun origami pieces using the brand’s recyclable paper, including animals and planes.

Origami is the art of paper folding often associated with Japanese culture.

The artist, who was born in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, but started his career in Soweto almost three decades ago, said during the presentation that he jumped at the opportunity to work on this project, because this issue was close to his heart.

“When I was approached by Nestlé Smarties for this project, I was very excited because they’re making a significant contribution to the environment and I wanted to be part of that.”

He is well versed in using recyclable materials for his creations.

“This project allowed me to produce art from basically nothing, which is something I love to do.”

While Buthelezi has grown accustomed to working with discarded plastic to transform it into works of art, he has fond memories of working with paper during the formative days of his career.

“Paper is something I started working with as a student because art supplies were so expensive,” he said.

During the virtual presentation, Buthelezi urged youngsters to recycle the Smarties packaging and make their own unique artwork. “Parents can spend some quality time with their children making art and also teaching them about sustainability.”

Alex Villela, the business executive officer, confectionery, at Nestlé South Africa, said they were thrilled to work with an artist of Buthelezi’s calibre.

“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.

“We hope that caregivers and their children will find it fun and an engaging way to educate children on planet sustainability issues through creative expressions in re-purposing the paper packaging.”

Villela added that the move to 100% recyclable paper showed the brand’s dedication to making their packaging be more environmentally friendly.

The Saturday Star

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