Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
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CVS, Nestlé Embrace Sustainable Packaging Practices

The market for sustainable packaging is expected to reach $440.3 billion over the next decade and businesses that hop on the bandwagon early are expected to reap economic benefits as well as increased consumer satisfaction and a lower environmental footprint. Two industry giants are riding the wave of change with the help of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and the roll out of new sustainable packaging initiatives.

In a bid to ramp up its efforts to reduce product waste packaging, CVS Health has joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. The company joins over 190 coalition members including Target, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and USPS and others collectively working to advance sustainable packaging.

“One of the key pillars of our CSR roadmap is to reduce our impacts on the environment,” said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy for CVS Health. “We are committed to reducing waste resulting from our products and packaging and we’re excited to be part of this coalition to help achieve that goal.”

The move comes in response to increasing consumer demand for more sustainable products and further supports the company’s mission to help people on the path to better health. Earlier this year, CVS announced plans to eliminate parabens, phthalates and the most prevalent formaldehyde donors in nearly 600 beauty and personal care products in its beauty and personal care lines. It will stop shipping store brand products that don’t meet these standards to distribution centers by the end of 2019.

CVS Health says the partnership with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition will “build on its efforts to reduce product packaging waste in collaboration with its suppliers” with the ultimate goal of embedding sustainability in its business operations and product development.

“Retailers play a pivotal role in packaging decisions and CVS Health’s tremendous reach offers a tremendous opportunity,” said Adam Gendell, Associate Director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. “We are excited to welcome CVS to the Coalition and we look forward to working together.”

In addition to joining the Coalition, CVS also announced that it has rolled out a new palm oil sourcing policy, which will see 100 percent of the company’s palm oil come from verified, responsible sources delivered through fully traceable supply chains by 2020.


Meanwhile, Nestlé Waters North America has begun featuring How2Recycle labels on half-liter bottles across all of its major US brands, making it the first beverage manufacturer in North America to do so. The company anticipates completing the How2Recycle transition and roll out by September 2017.

Variation in recycling programs, unclear labelling and inaccurate recycling claims make recycling a challenge in the United States. Created by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition in 2012, the How2Recycle label endeavors to make recycling easier for consumers, thereby boosting overall recycling rates. It has so far been adopted by more than 65 brands and retailers and can be found on thousands of products on shelves today. It is the only US-based standardized labeling system that communicates recyclability information on package to consumers.

“Our goal has been to find a compelling and simple way to educate and encourage all Americans to recycle the bottle,” said Nelson Switzer, Chief Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters North America. “By adopting the How2Recycle label, millions of consumers will now have a clear and consistent recycling guide on the side of the bottle — driving recovery of the bottle and a reduction in environmental impact. We hope our peers and other manufacturers of packaged goods will adopt the How2Recycle labeling standard to help stimulate a revolution in US recycling.”

The label is being included on the company’s purified water brand Nestlé® Pure Life® as well as its regional spring water brands, Poland Spring®, Deer Park®, Ice Mountain®, Zephyrhills®, **Ozarka®**and Arrowhead®. Nestlé Pure Life began the initiative in early August with the How2Recycle label being added to certain half-liter bottles produced in the US. The label will begin to appear on certain Poland Spring, Deer Park, Ozarka, Ice Mountain and Zephyrhills brand half-liter bottles later this month. The How2Recycle label will begin appearing on certain Arrowhead half-liter bottles in September.

“We cannot overstate the environmental importance of the ‘Empty & Replace Cap’ instruction on these bottles; it means fewer loose caps will have the potential to get into our waterways and oceans,” said Kelly Cramer, Senior Manager at Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Lead of How2Recycle.

“Importantly, it also helps ensure that the caps will be recycled. That’s because when caps are replaced on bottles that go through the recycling stream, it’s less likely that they will fall through recycler’s equipment and be discarded. Nestlé Waters’ confident move to put the How2Recycle label so prominently on so many bottles is a statement that they are serious about helping people recycle more and better.”

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