Taking Action Against Plastic Straws

An overwhelming response to our newest challenge

At Nestlé, we recognise that plastic straws are having a devastating impact on the world’s oceans and have become a worldwide problem. As a global business, we’re prepared to take decisive action to help tackle it. That’s why, earlier this year – we launched a bold, new challenge.

Through HENRi, we began searching for a partner to help us re-think the role of plastic straws in our ‘Ready to Drink’ packaging across Brazil. The challenge was to mitigate the environmental impact of straws, or ideally – eliminate the problem altogether.

We’re delighted to announce that we received a staggering 72 submissions in response to our initial challenge brief. The largest number for any brief since the launch of HENRi, three years ago.

The brief was circulated globally, however it’s especially exciting for our colleagues in Brazil that 90% of submissions came from Brazilian entrepreneurs. Carolina Sevciuc, Head of Digital Transformation for Nestlé Brazil, observed: "Creativity and innovation are on the rise in Brazil, and the numbers of our challenge show an ongoing stimulus towards a transformative and dynamic mindset."

From the initial 72 responses, the HENRi team were able to choose a shortlist of eight start-ups and entrepreneurs to proceed to the final round, where they would be      evaluated by a committee of market experts and Nestlé executives, including Nestlé Brazil CEO, Marcelo Melchior. "This challenge represented an initial move, a first attempt to use this innovation community more broadly to achieve the out-of-the-box solutions that we intend to use more often," said Melchior.

After eight truly excellent presentations, the panel chose to award the project to a team of young entrepreneurs: Ana Ivna Alves Milério and Leonardo Holanda Lima from Fortaleza, and Mateus Titara from Ceará – who work in environmental engineering, architecture and sustainability.

Their submission featured a new prototype of a current Nestlé ‘Ready to Drink’ product. Except the team added a folded straw, made from the same recyclable material as the existing packaging. The prototype pack is sealed, however the new straw is immediately released once the seal is released.

The team received a US$50,000 prize to develop a pilot scheme, together with Nestlé Brazil and Fundação Dom Cabral.

We’d like to extend the warmest congratulations to the successful team partnering with Nestlé in this extraordinarily important challenge. And we’d like to wish everyone involved the very best of luck.

We hope to continue sharing good news and updates on the HENRi site.