The Coca-Cola Company and its two leading European bottling partners – Coca-Cola European Partners and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company – have jointly signed the European Commission’s Circular Plastics Alliance declaration, underlining their commitment to using more recycled packaging across Europe.
As part of The Coca-Cola Company’s journey towards a World Without Waste, we’re announcing that – in partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners – GLACÉAU Smartwater bottles will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (rPET) by the end of the year.
And we’re on track to double the amount of rPET used in all our other plastic bottles by early next year too.
GLACÉAU Smartwater is the the third largest on-the-go bottled water brand in Great Britain, and we will be moving the entire range in both 600ml and 850ml servings into plastic bottles made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastic.
This will save more than 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic per year.
At the same time, we’re continuing to work with local reprocessors to double the amount of recycled PET used in all of our plastic bottles, across our portfolio of drinks, to at least 50%.
These new packs will start to be introduced in early 2020 and makes Coca-Cola the largest user of recycled PET plastic in Great Britain.
Together, these initiatives will ensure that more than 23,000 tonnes of virgin plastic will no longer be used by the business in Great Britain in 2020.
But that’s not all we’re doing: Sprite has some big changes coming, too. From September 2019, plastic Sprite bottles will transition from green to clear, making them far easier to recycle into new bottles.
This will, in turn, increase the supply of rPET available, and stimulate the development of a circular economy.
Sprite bottles will also move to include 50% rPET next year, as part of the work to double the recycled content in bottles across all of our brands.
We’re pleased to see these steps welcomed by DEFRA. Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Congratulations to Coca-Cola on making this significant step to help our natural environment. These initiatives, including using more recycled plastic in their bottles, set a fine example to other large businesses and we hope that others follow suit.
“We all have a responsibility to our environment. Through our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy the government is committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle for a more circular economy.”
Marcus Gover, Chief Executive of WRAP, has also welcomed the news: “Coca-Cola was one of the founding members of The UK Plastics Pact and it’s great to see them announce developments which demonstrate progress towards the Pact’s targets.
A bottle made from recycled plastic uses 75% less energy, and changing colour from green to clear may be subtle to the public but enables that plastic to be used for a multitude of purposes and significantly increases its value.
“We’re also pleased to see design changes which give people extra nudges to do their bit to help drive up recycling. If we are to transform the way we use, make and dispose of plastic, then we all have a role to play.”
“Using more recycled plastic is a critical element of our sustainable packaging strategy,” says Coca-Cola Great Britain General Manager Jon Woods, “as it reduces the amount of virgin material used in our packs. None of this is easy and I am proud of the teams’ work to ensure we are on track to move to at least 50% recycled PET plastic on all of our bottles in 2020.
“Our new Smartwater bottle shows we can go further. But that requires more packaging to be collected so that more can be reused to make new bottles.
That’s why we support the planned reforms of the current recycling system in Great Britain and are calling for the introduction of a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers, which we believe will reduce litter and increase the quantity and quality of material reprocessed in this country.”
We have a strong track record of investing in recycled PET and began using recycled PET in our bottles in the 1990’s. Over the last decade we have supported the development of many recycling plants around the world, including the UK’s only bottle reprocessing plant in Lincolnshire, which we helped to build and has been providing the recycled material used in our bottles since it opened in 2012.
This support continues with significant recent investments in new enhanced recycling technologies which allow a wider range of waste plastics to be used to make new bottles.
The news is our latest action, marking two years since we launched our sustainable packaging strategy – in which we set out an ambition to work with others to ensure that all our packaging is recovered so that more can be recycled and none ends up as waste.