Business & Real Estate

Nestlé Waters announces California-specific plan to boost recycling content in bottles

Nestlé Waters North America on Wednesday announced that it plans to significantly increase recycled content in the most popular sizes of its Arrowhead bottled water, including millions of bottles produced annually at its Sacramento facility.

Stamford, Conn.-based Nestlé said the effort is California-specific and designed to further promote recycling of plastic bottles statewide. Nestlé also operates bottling facilities in Ontario in San Bernardino County and Cabazon in Riverside County.

“California by far leads the nation in recycling, and this will create more demand for recycled plastic. It tells consumers to save that plastic bottle, and it can be used over and over again,” said Jane Lazgin, a spokeswoman for Nestlé.

By the end of 2016, about 3.6 billion bottles of Arrowhead produced for sale in California will be affected, Lazgin said.

Nestlé said it will increase Arrowhead’s use of recycled content by 38 percent and ensure that most of its bottle sizes contain up to 50 percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or rPET for short. Polyethylene terephthalate is a thermoplastic resin of the polyester family and is used in various products, including plastic beverage bottles. The company said other beverage containers in common use have been composed of 10 percent to 15 percent recycled materials.

The move also is projected to save an estimated 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide from production annually.

Nestlé oversees the Arrowhead brand, which is sold in California under the name Arrowhead Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water. Lazgin said the bottles targeted for the program range from 8 ounces to 3 liters.

Nestlé believes its program also will reduce landfill waste, conserve natural resources and reduce sourcing of new materials.

“Thanks to California’s strong commitment to recycling, there is high-quality rPET available, enabling us to increase our use of recycled material,” said Tim Brown, CEO and president of Nestlé Waters North America.

In a telephone interview, Brown said Wednesday’s announcement actually was an extension of previous efforts, as rPET was introduced in half-liter Arrowhead bottles three years ago.

In fact, Brown noted, the Nestlé facility in Sacramento “is the least affected plant” under the new program, as it has already been producing Arrowhead bottles with rPET. Brown said the Sacramento bottling facility accounts for 20 percent of overall Arrowhead production.

Arrowhead is partnering with Los Angeles-based CarbonLITE Industries LLC, which bills itself as one of the largest producers of food-grade, post-consumer recycled PET in the world. It will provide the rPET material used in its bottles, and the recycled materials are primarily collected in California.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover