On this America Recycles Day, we asked Adam, the regional environmental specialist in charge of recycling for the plant in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to clear up some misconceptions and provide a few recycling tips, such as how to recycle plastic bottles. He also tells us a little about some of the interesting recycling practices used at the plants where Nestlé Health Science products like BOOST® Nutritional Drinks
and Peptamen® tube feeding
formulas are made.
I have heard conflicting advice on how to recycle a plastic bottle. What recycling tips do you recommend?
Well, the specifics on how to recycle depend on the particular type of plastic but the overall procedure is the same. Let’s use our BOOST® drink, which is made in our Anderson plant and comes in a plastic bottle, as an example. The first thing you want to do is look for the number on the bottom of the bottle in a triangle. Most of our BOOST® drink bottles are labeled number 1, which means they are made out of Polyethylene Terephthalate, which is often abbreviated to PETE or PET and is accepted by most recyclers.
Understanding what to recycle is just part of the equation. You also need to know how to recycle. For instance, what you want to do is rinse out the container and put the cap back on.1 Putting the cap back on is a recent change suggested by the Association of Plastic Recyclers and reflects today’s advancing recycling technology. Many recyclers use technology which can separate the different plastics that are often used in caps, bottles and labels. The Association of Plastic Recyclers also now recommends against flattening the bottle when you recycle.1 So, once you have rinsed out the bottle, throw it in the recycling bin without crushing the bottle.
At Nestlé Health Science, we are also doing our part to minimize waste before the BOOST® bottle gets to you. Just changing how we arrange the shipping cartons on our wooden pallets allows us to ship more BOOST® drinks in every truck. That can lead to fewer shipments which in turn results in less gasoline and emissions.
What are some of the unexpected ways you recycle at the Eau Claire factory?
Most people are surprised about how we recycle the formula left over from the quality control testing we conduct on every batch we make. Rather than throwing the leftover formula away, we truck the formula over to the hog farm down the road where the farmers use the strained liquid to meet the nutritional needs of their animals.
We make it easy for everyone at the plant to know how to recycle various materials used in production. Our plants have anywhere from 3 to 5 different recycling bins next to each manufacturing line so we can separate and recycle as we go. Additionally, we work with our suppliers on a daily basis to minimize the amount of excess packaging that comes into our plant in the first place.
What are your top four recycling tips for consumers on this America Recycles Day?
Here are a few ways I think consumers can up their recycling game:
1. Clean It Out
One of the biggest things people forget to do is rinse out their containers. Recycling technology has gotten more sophisticated, but still can’t handle recyclable bottles with food or liquid in them. The same goes for paper or cardboard. For example, you can’t recycle a pizza box that is stained with oil.
2. Make It Convenient
Take a minute to think of all the places you might have something to recycle. The kitchen is a natural and most of us have recycling bins there. But what about the bathroom? Your toilet paper rolls are recyclable, but often end up in the bathroom garbage. Consider placing a small box in your bathroom or on each floor of your house for recyclables.
3. Leverage Community Resources
Most every community offers some sort of recycling. Some communities offer single stream recycling which means you can place all paper, plastics, metals, and other mixed material containers in one bin for the recycling center to sort. Other towns require that you separate out paper from plastic or only accept certain plastics. Take some time to learn what your town will and will not accept.
4. Check Your Local Retailers
One often overlooked recycling resource is local retailers. For example, Target® hosts an annual recycling event for child car seats. Other retailers accept plastic bags. The America Recycles Day website has a great online tool for helping you to figure out how to recycle almost anything in your local area.
Where did you get your passion for recycling?
I'm pretty much into most everything outdoors so I want to do everything I can to protect the environment. I also grew up on a hobby farm, and my dad was involved with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So, I've always had a strong desire for doing the right thing, whether it be for the land or from a consumer standpoint with recycling. The importance of recycling is something my wife and I are teaching our kids. They’ve really gotten into it and now even fight over who gets to dump the coffee grounds into the compost bin!
Want to know more?
Read about the aim of Nestlé to have 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.
- The Association of Plastic Recyclers https://www.plasticsrecycling.org/education/faqs/caps-on