Nestlé employees have dedicated their volunteer days to removing litter from a section of the Puhinui Stream which runs behind the Nestlé factory in Manukau.
More than 130 Nestlé employees from the Auckland area donned gloves and joined the Sea Cleaners team to gather rubbish from the local waterway which is washed down from upstream or is collected along the banks as it makes its way to Manukau Harbour.
Sea Cleaners CEO Hayden Smith said that the dumping of rubbish in and near the stream and other local waterways was an ongoing issue, but one they were seeking to address through community involvement and education.
“It is encouraging to see a company like Nestlé getting actively involved at a local level, to make a difference in their own backyard. Being located close to the stream, the Nestlé team have seen first-hand the implications of what happens to waste items once they reach the waterways and why it is so important to do the right thing in the first place,” Mr Smith said.
“Today’s operation has resulted in 30,000 litres of rubbish alone being collected. If this activity makes everyone stop and take a moment to pick up just one piece of trash a day, then the momentum of this change in behaviour will have a significant impact,” Mr Smith added.
Nestlé Country Manager Christian Abboud said it was important for Nestlé to partner with local organisations like Sea Cleaners who could share their expertise in this area.
“Tackling plastic pollution, especially in our oceans and waterways is a priority for Nestlé. Along with taking steps to reduce the amount of plastic that we produce, addressing the challenge of plastic waste requires behaviour change from all of us, and there is no better place to start than from within our own company,” Mr Abboud said.
“Engaging and mobilising our employees to participate in local clean-up events such as this is an important step in contributing to lasting and impactful change. We are looking forward to exploring further opportunities to work with Sea Cleaners to promote education, drive change and help end plastic pollution,” Mr Abboud added.
Nestlé has already laid out its broader vision to achieve a waste-free future and announced a series of specific actions towards meeting its commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, with a particular focus on avoiding plastic-waste.
As part of a co-ordinated global volunteering effort ahead of World Oceans Day on 8 June, an additional 40 Nestlé employees also volunteered at similar clean up events in Marton, Wellington and Christchurch, collecting another 10,000 litres of rubbish.