By Vivian Ihechu
Nestle Nigeria Plc. on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with an environmental group, Wecyclers, to tackle the challenge of plastic waste pollution in Nigeria.
Wecyclers is a social enterprise that helps households in low-income communities to capture value from their waste, to accelerate the process of recovering and recycling post-consumption plastic packaging waste.
According to the parties, due to the increasing usage and indiscriminate disposal of single use plastics, there is a growing concern on the quantity of plastic waste entering natural environments and harming wildlife and damaging ecosystems
Speaking at the signing, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé, said: “I am delighted at your joining us for the signing of the MoU between Nestlé Nigeria Plc. and Wecyclers on environmental sustainability.
“Plastic waste is one of the biggest sustainability issues the world is facing today with the growing volume of plastic waste entering the natural environment, harming wildlife and damaging ecosystems globally.
“Due to the increasing usage and indiscriminate disposal of single use plastics, we are witnessing a surge in plastic waste pollution right here in our immediate environment.
“Nigeria generates more than 32 million metric tonnes of waste annually with Lagos alone producing about 10,000 metric tonnes of waste daily most of which end up in landfills and in waterways, exacerbating health challenges and environmental hazards.”
According to him, Nestle’s vision is that none of its product packaging, including plastics ends up in landfills, litter the environment, seas, oceans and waterways.
Alarcon disclosed that Nestlé had inaugurated the Institute of Packaging Sciences in Switzerland, the first-of-its-kind in the food industry.
“This institute will enable Nestlé to accelerate its efforts to bring functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to the market and to address the global challenge of plastic packaging waste.
“Between 2020 and 2025, Nestlé will phase out all plastics that are not recyclable or are hard to recycle for all its products worldwide.
“Our longer-term ambition is to stop plastic leakages into the environment in order to avoid further accumulation of plastics in nature while also achieving plastic neutrality.
“Nestlé is committed to working together with governments, NGOs and other private sector and industry stakeholders to develop a circular plastic economy, where plastic is collected, sorted, recycled and reused efficiently.’’
The Nestlé chief said the signing of the MoU with Wecyclers, would accelerate the process of recovering and recycling post-consumption plastic packaging waste in Lagos State by extending plastics waste recovery systems to more communities.
“The project will also help create 40 direct jobs for collection point operators and sorters and empower an additional 15,000 individuals.
“Nestlé is also founding member of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance in Nigeria, whose mission is to build a self-sustaining recycling economy around post-consumer packaging waste in order to stimulate employment, wealth creation and innovation.
“We are passionate about protecting the environment where we work and will continue to take positive action to improve it,’’ he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers, Mr Olawale Adebiyi, said the partnership was an avenue to extend the plastics collection and recycling process by setting up more collection sites across Lagos State.
“We are indeed pleased to partner with Nestlé to achieve our objectives of helping to create a plastics recycling ecosystem in Nigeria,’’ Adebiyi said.