Sector News

Coca-Cola European Partners reaches major sustainability milestone as 50% of plastic used in core portfolio is now from recycled sources

September 24, 2020
Food & Drink

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), in partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain, today announces that all plastic bottles across all its core brands made in Great Britain are now made with 50% recycled plastic (rPET).

The move means Coca-Cola in Great Britain is now using over 21,000 tonnes of recycled plastic per year and rPET now accounts for 50% of all plastic used in bottles across the Company’s core range made in Great Britain.

With this change Coca-Cola increases its rPET usage by a further 25% marking another major step on the journey towards the Company’s ambition to help create more sustainable packaging options where all plastic used in bottles comes from recycled or renewable sources. All of Coca-Cola’s bottles have been 100% recyclable for many years.

To announce the step forward and the increase in recycled material, bottles will carry new labels notifying consumers of the change and encouraging them to recycle the bottle.

The move comes as part of the business’s long-term investment in the UK’s circular economy since helping to establish the UK’s biggest bottle-to-bottle plastic reprocessing facility in Lincolnshire in 2012 which reprocesses bottles collected from households across the UK.

Stephen MoorhouseGeneral Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain, said: “This milestone marks an important step towards our ambition across Western Europe to remove all non-recycled plastic from our bottles.

“One of the key challenges the industry currently faces is that there isn’t enough food-grade recycled plastic locally available in the UK to switch to 100% rPET across our entire range. There needs to be more high-quality recycled plastic produced, so it’s vital to make sure we collect more bottles in an efficient way, and stop it ending up as waste.

“Although all our bottles have been 100% recyclable for many years, too many are still not being recycled. That’s why we support the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), consistent across Great Britain and coupled with investment in infrastructure. This will really encourage more people to recycle and will help more bottles to be collected in a clean, efficient way so that they can be remade into new bottles again.”

The Coca-Cola Company more broadly is continuing to invest in the latest recycling technology to help reach 100% recycled plastic in all its bottles and CCEP has also recently taken another important step on the journey towards this goal by funding CuRe Technology – a recycling start-up which seeks to provide a new lease of life for difficult to recycle plastic polyester waste. Once operational, CuRe has the potential to support CCEP and The Coca-Cola Company’s ambition to eliminate virgin oil-based PET from its PET bottles within the next decade.

In Great Britain Coca-Cola has worked closely with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) for 20 years, sharing a vision to minimise waste and promote resource efficiency and circularity, from jointly investing in Recycle Zone on-the-go recycling facilities in 2008 through to being one of the founder members of UK Plastics Pact.”

Helen Bird, Strategic Engagement Manager at WRAP, said: “It takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic compared with using virgin material, and it’s always important to remember that using recycled content in the manufacture of new products and packaging is the whole point of recycling. Not only does it mean that less new plastic is being used, it also ensures that it is being kept in the packaging recycling system and out of the environment. We are seeing momentum building on the use of recycled content in plastic packaging and this announcement by Coca-Cola, one of our founding UK Plastics Pact members, is good news for the environment and good news for industry.”

By & Source: CCEP

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