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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia– Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd announced today that it plans to adopt paper straws across its entire range of ultra-high temperature (UHT) by year end.

Although Nestle claims this move will help in tackling the plastic pollution crisis, it is a misguided one, that aims at switching from one throwaway material to another. It also does not take into account the low recycling rate in Malaysia of only 28.06% in 2019.

Greenpeace Malaysia Campaigner Heng Kiah Chun said:

“If Nestle is serious about tackling the plastic pollution crisis in Malaysia and around the world, they need to reassess their delivery systems . Switching from plastic straws to paper straws only diverts the problem somewhere else. The root of the problem originates from our throwaway culture of single-use products. To end the plastic pollution crisis, Nestle must reduce the amount of plastic packaging that they produce and invest in alternative delivery systems of refill and reuse. A quick switch from plastic-to-paper is concerning and simply shifts the burden from plastic to paper materials.

“Nestle’s false alternative solution also comes from a region whose forests are already heavily logged and has faced widespread destruction yearly. In 2020 alone Greenpeace Southeast Asia revealed that one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the region has been actively clearing Sumatran peatlands for pulpwood plantations, fuelling forest fires.

“Shifting from plastic to paper is not a sustainable solution as it only shifts the problem from one throwaway material to another. Southeast Asia urgently needs Nestle to address the plastic pollution problem at its source and put forward ambitious targets for plastic reduction. In addition to a much needed redesign, we need the multinational to shift toward more sustainable refill and reuse systems.”

Nestle was one of the top corporate plastic polluters identified in a worldwide cleanup and brand audit effort conducted by the Break Free From Plastic coalition last year. Full results here: 

Yvonne Nathan, Greenpeace Malaysia Digital and Media Campaigner
E: [email protected]

Greenpeace International Press Desk: +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]