Nestlé and Unilever local authority recycling trial hindered by financial concerns

A recycling scheme by FMCG giants including Nestlé, Unilever, Mars, Mondelez and PepsiCo has been hindered due to financial cost pressures on local authorities.

The Flexible Plastic Fund which first took to trial in May 2022, has now seen a third of the councils set to take part pulling out as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, according to reporting by The Grocer.

Working with local authorities to recycle ‘flexible’ plastics including foil, plastic bags and plastic film, the scheme also looks to provide an example for how plastics can be used in household collections.

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Running until 2025, the Flexible Plastic Fund aimed to have nine local authorities taking part, however three have since pulled out.

However, the trial launched in Essex this week, spanning across more than 6,500 homes in Maldon, following on from previous trials in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire, supported by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Fund’s partners include a raft of brands in the UK food industry such as Abel & Cole, Ella’s Kitchen, KP Snacks, McCain Foods, Tilda, United Biscuits, Yeo Valley Farms, Lotus Bakeries, Ocado Retail and Warp Snacks.

Co-founder of the scheme, Ecosurety’s discovery manager, Gareth Morton told The Grocer that local authorities were “strapped for cash”, adding that “nobody is in any doubt that this is a huge challenge because we’ve never tried it at scale before.”

However he said that if it was to succeed, “this project will benefit communities right across England.”



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