ZURICH (Reuters) - Nestle (NESN.S) next month will start to drop plastic straws from its products and is working on biodegradable water bottles in a drive to reduce plastic waste, it said on Tuesday.
The steps are part of a campaign launched last year by firms including the Swiss group, the world's biggest packaged food company, to make all packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
They come amid a global crackdown on throw-away items that can languish for years in oceans and landfills.
Nestle said from February it would start using alternative materials such as paper and adopt designs to replace plastic straws and reduce litter.
Nestle's bottled water unit Nestle Waters would increase the recycled PET, a type of plastic, content in its bottles to 35 percent by 2025 globally and reach 50 percent in the United States, with a specific focus on its Poland Spring brand. It would raise the recycled PET content for some European water brands to half by 2025.
Nestle was developing new paper-based materials and biodegradable polymers that are also recyclable. "This could become a valuable option in places where recycling infrastructure does not yet exist and will not be available for some time," it said in a statement.
Nestle said it was collaborating with U.S.-based Danimer Scientific to develop a marine biodegradable and recyclable bottle for its water business, and with PureCycle Technologies to produce food-grade recycled polypropylene, a polymer used for packing food in trays, tubs, cups and bottles.
Magdi Batato, Nestle's global head of operations, said the company was still assessing the potential impact on products' shelf life and manufacturing costs.
"Some of those alternative solutions are even cheaper, some of them are cost neutral and indeed some of them are more expensive," he told reporters on a call.
(Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)