Nestlé has unveiled prototypes for its Perrier water bottles based on a novel recycling technology.
The bottles were produced as part of the Carbios global consortium to support the industrialization of an innovative technology that allows plastic to be endlessly recycled while maintaining properties that are virtually equivalent to virgin plastics. The consortium members include L’Oréal, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe and PepsiCo.
Using this novel technology, experts at Nestlé’s research and development center for Waters in Vittel, France produced the first Perrier 50cl prototype bottles made from colored recycled PET materials. The prototypes were thoroughly tested in terms of safety, quality, and performance. They were also specially adapted to withstand the pressure of carbonated water while also incorporating the Perrier bottle’s iconic design and green color.
While recycled PET bottles already exist in the marketplace, this new technology will help increase the amount of PET plastic that can be recycled when developed at an industrial scale.
Jean-Francois Briois, head of packaging material science and environmental sustainability for Nestlé Waters global R&D says, “It is very exciting to see that the quality of the prototype bottles made from 100% colored recycled PET materials is virtually identical to clear virgin PET. Thanks to this partnership with Carbios, we are able to achieve the great challenge of combining quality, iconic design and sustainability. When we reach industrial scale, this enzymatic recycling technology will enable us to produce high-quality rPET bottles and help Nestlé in its journey to reduce the use of virgin plastics.”
The Carbios technology uses enzymes from naturally occurring microorganisms to break down PET plastic into its constituent parts, which can then be converted back into new, virgin-grade like plastic.
The ground-breaking process is also unique because it enables the production of recycled PET from any type of PET plastic, regardless of color or complexity. This allows the recycling of more types of PET plastic that would otherwise go to waste or be incinerated, thus creating an endless, fully closed-loop for plastic recycling.
Nestlé’s R&D expertise and infrastructure was also leveraged to create bottle preforms using the technology for other Carbios consortium members. Each member then further blew up the preforms into specific bottle shapes according to their needs.
The Carbios partnership and resulting innovations are part of Nestlé’s continuous efforts to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of innovative sustainable packaging solutions. Nestlé also recently unveiled two new packaging innovations for its Vittel natural mineral water bottles which are made with as little recycled plastic as possible.