Nestlé Waters North America is the largest stand-alone bottled water marketer in the U.S., and owns the popular Arrowhead and Poland Springs brands.
In the past decade, the company has moved from non-involvement in the container recycling issue to becoming a leading proponent for extended producer responsibility (EPR).
After receiving an “F” in As You Sow’s 2006 beverage container recycling scorecard, the company contacted us. They praised the report as performing a valuable public service and conceded that they deserved their failing grade. Company officials assured us policy reform was imminent. We subsequently met with Nestlé Waters officials who sought our input on policy development on container recycling.
In November 2007, CEO Kim Jeffery publicly stated his intent to promote legislation that would significantly boost U.S. container recovery rates. Mr. Jeffery said the beverage industry needed a more comprehensive 21st century solution to container waste and endorsed California’s container redemption system with some caveats.
“The question is how ambitious are you and can we get people to think about more comprehensive notions for recycling than deposit laws we’ve got on the books today,” he said.
In October of 2008, Nestlé Waters became the first beverage company to commit to an industry-wide bottle recovery goal. As You Sow recognized the company for its commitment to an industry-wide 60% PET plastic bottle recycling rate for U.S. beverage makers who use PET by 2018.
In our latest beverage scorecard, the company's score improved to an industry-leading "B-."
Nestlé's Director of Sustainability Michael Washburn also participated in our recent video describing the business case for extended producer responsibility.
In 2011 and 2012, the company has moved aggressively to promote new state producer responsibility programs for packaging laws to remedy low U.S. packaging recycling rates and also appealed to scores of leading companies to consider EPR as a solution. It co-founded a new nonprofit organizaton called Recycling Reinvented with environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to educate companies and advocate for state EPR mandates.
We applaud this forward thinking company and look forward to its continued progress on recycled content and container recovery and industry leadership.