Nestlé, the World's Largest Food Company, Switching to Cage-Free Eggs
Nestlé, the biggest food company in the world, announced Thursday it will only use eggs from cage-free hens for all its food products globally by 2025—a major step in the global cage-free movement, animal rights advocates said.
The company said the transition will happen in Europe and the U.S. by the end of 2020, with the rest of the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania to follow by 2025.
"Our purpose is to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future. This includes ensuring decent welfare standards for animals that are reared for the ingredients used in our products," Nestlé said in its announcement.
"Switching to cage-free supplies worldwide requires time and investment. We will manage this in a sustainable and cost effective way during the implementation period, ensuring consumers continue to access affordable high quality foods throughout. We look forward to working with our suppliers, farmers, civil society and customers to drive progress."
The Swiss transnational food giant sells everything from bottled water to baby food. The new cage-free policy will affect Nestlé products and brands such as Gerber, Nesquik, Butterfinger, KitKat, Wonka, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, Stouffer's, Dreyer's and Häagen-Dazs.
A company spokesman told Reuters that tens of millions of chickens would be positively affected by the switch.
The move was made after Nestlé's close conversations and collaboration with members of Open Wing Alliance, an international coalition of farm animal protection organizations launched by The Humane League in 2016.
“The Humane League commends Nestlé's commitment to its progressive timelines for these groundbreaking animal welfare policies, which will serve as the benchmark for all other food companies worldwide," said David Coman-Hidy, president of The Humane League. “This is a historic moment for farm animal welfare, and we believe it marks a tipping point for monumental progress in reforming the worst practices in factory farming."
Major brands including Wyndham Worldwide, Sodexo, Walmart, Aldi, Kroger, Dunkin Donuts and Denny's have already committed to eliminating cages from their supply chains.
The Humane League hopes that Nestlé's commitment will spur other food companies, restaurants and grocers to take similar steps.
As EcoWatch mentioned previously, although the label "cage-free" has its problems, the food industry's overall shift to cage-free eggs is a big step for animal welfare. The vast majority of eggs that we see in the U.S. come from hens confined in battery cages. These hens cannot spread their wings, they cannot walk around or express other normal hen behaviors. They may never see the light of day.
The Humane League is hoping to eliminate the use of cages around the world and is pressuring global companies to end the practice, Coman-Hidy told EcoWatch last year.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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