Nestlé Mexico partners with UK company to build flexible plastic recycling plant

Nestlé Mexico has signed an agreement – it’s first outside of Europe – with UK-based company Greenback Recycling Technologies to build a chemical recycling plant capable of processing flexible plastic packaging in Mexico.

The plant will address the challenge of recycling post-consumer plastic waste in the country and help to implement a circular economy for plastic packaging.

The agreement targets plastic packaging not currently recycled, including multilayer flexible and aluminium-laminated plastics, and aims to meet the technical and commercial requirements to ensure the circularity of food-grade plastics.

The plant will use an innovative microwave-induced pyrolysis technology developed by Enval, a UK-based chemical recycling company.

It transforms plastics into oil feedstock to produce new plastic, effectively closing the loop on packaging recycling and enabling previously unrecyclable packaging to become valuable and environmentally responsible.

This project in Mexico will tackle the unresolved problem of turning multi-laminate and mixed plastics that are difficult to recycle into a recyclable waste stream.

Furthermore, it is the only technology in the world capable of recycling plastic aluminium laminates by splitting them into high-value oil and aluminium with a low-carbon footprint.

The project will enable the recycling of approximately 6,000 tonnes of flexible plastic packaging in its first year, with sustained growth in both volume and installed capacity expected over time.

In addition, Nestlé will invest in the adaptation to the Mexican waste ecosystem and market of Greenback’s eco2Veritas circularity platform, which provides complete traceability of the neutralisation and recycling process.

The Swiss company’s alliance with Greenback and Enval aligns with its objective of reducing its plastic footprint while continuing the path towards achieving a waste-free future.

‘Close the loop’

Commenting on the project, Fausto Costa, Nestlé Mexico’s CEO, said: “Making safe recycled plastics for food packaging is a huge challenge for our industry. Therefore, in addition to minimising the use of plastics and collecting waste, we want to close the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable.

“This project with Greenback and Enval fully supports the mission of ensuring that our plastic packaging is not only recyclable but actually recycled. It also ensures that we are drastically reducing plastic waste pollution and supports our work with local communities.”

Philippe von Stauffenberg, Founder and CEO of Greenback, commented: “This project in Mexico will tackle the unresolved problem of turning multi-laminate and mixed plastics that are difficult to recycle into a recyclable waste stream.

“The aim is to reduce the challenges that exist in packaging recycling, transforming these waste resources into pyrolysis oil that can be used for the manufacture of certified recycled food packaging.”

Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, Founder and CEO of Enval, added: “This project demonstrates the importance of collaboration between companies at different stages of the supply chain to tackle the challenge of plastics in the environment.

“At Enval, we know that plastics are not the enemy and that these materials have a valuable role in our daily lives. However, we also know that there is no reason they should end up in the sea or on top of a mountain.

“Our technology allows the recycling of packaging that was previously considered unrecyclable, and we are delighted that our first plant, in collaboration with an FMCG as committed to sustainability as Nestlé and in partnership with Greenback, will be soon operating in Mexico.”

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