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KitKat wrapper made from recycled soft plastics

Nestlé, together with other companies, has collaborated to develop Australia’s first soft plastic food wrapper made with recycled content.

The prototype KitKat wrapper, which aims at closing the loop on recycling soft plastics, has been created by Nestlé, CurbCycle, iQ Renew, Licella, Viva Energy Australia, LyondellBasell, REDcycle, Taghleef Industries and Amcor, who all brought their individual expertise together to collect and process waste soft plastic, turn it back into oil, and create a food-grade prototype wrapper.

Sandra Martinez, CEO of Nestlé Australia, said the project had been driven by a shared determination to resolve the soft plastics challenge – and an enormous amount of good will.

“Between us, we have shown that there’s a pathway to solve the soft plastics problem. To build this at scale, across all states and territories, across hundreds of councils, is going to take a huge effort from government at all levels, from industry and from consumers, but I think it can be done.

“Manufacturers like Nestlé will have a key role in driving demand for food-grade recycled soft plastic packaging, and creating market conditions that will ensure all stakeholders throughout the value chain view soft plastics as a resource and not waste,” said Martinez.

Food-grade recycled soft plastic packaging has been a barrier in Australia’s bid to improve waste management and build a circular economy, with a lack of both collection and processing infrastructure making it difficult to keep waste out of landfill and hard to meet demands for packaging with recycled content.

Danial Gallagher, CEO of iQ Renew, said that “to improve the recycling rate of soft plastics, kerbside collection is an important point of convenience. In the trial, soft plastics are collected from kerbside recycling bins in a dedicated bright yellow bag, then sorted from the recycling stream at our MRF.”

“To create the KitKatwrapper with 30 per cent recycled content, the soft plastics were processed, then sent to Licella for conversion back into the oil from which they originally came. This oil was then used to produce new food grade soft plastics,” said Gallagher.