On September 12, 2019, food and drink company Nestlé held an event to launch its new “Institute of Packaging Sciences” based at its research center in Lausanne, Switzerland. The event brought together a range of media, Swiss government agencies, academic researchers, foundations, and various departments within Nestlé itself. Guests were guided through the branch of the campus that will host the institute, including a look into the range of analytical and development laboratories on-site. Institute leadership shared that research within the new organization will focus on (i) re-useable packaging and alternative delivery systems, (ii) simplifying packaging, (iii) transitioning packaging towards alternative materials such as paper and compostable and biodegradable plastics, and (iv) investigating combined solutions using these materials. A four-year partnership with research groups within the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) was also announced that will bring Nestlé and academic researchers together on projects. The institute will also host the company’s food safety testing for packaging, which will continue migration and other safety testing of chemicals in food contact materials (FCMs). Following increased use of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) across the food packaging industry, Nestlé scientists said a next focus will be placed on recycling mixed plastics and ensuring their safety in FCMs.

Mark Schneider, Nestlé’s CEO, said during the event that “our vision is a world in which none of our packaging ends up in landfill or as litter. To achieve this we introduce reusable packaging solutions and pioneer environmentally friendly packaging materials. Furthermore, we support the development of local recycling infrastructure and deposit schemes to help shape a waste-free world.” Planning for the institute was first announced in December 2018 (FPF reported).

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Nestlé (September 12, 2019). “Nestlé inaugurates packaging research institute, first-of-its-kind in the food industry.”

Cathy Siegner (September 16, 2019). “Are big CPG companies getting serious about reducing plastic packaging?Waste Dive

Katy Askew (October 8, 2019). “Behind the scenes at Nestlé Packaging Science: A 5-step approach to the plastic problem.Food Navigator