In the latest move as part of its sustainable packaging strategy, Coca-Cola Great Britain, in partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners, today announced GLACÉAU Smartwater bottles will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (rPET) by the end of the year and confirmed that it is on track to double the amount of rPET used in all other plastic bottles in early 2020.
In a move welcomed by DEFRA, GLACÉAU Smartwater, the third largest on-the-go bottled water brand in Great Britain, will move its entire range and both its 600ml and 850ml servings into plastic bottles made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastic. The changes will remove 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation and means GLACÉAU Smartwater will contain more recycled plastic in its packaging than any bottled water brand in Great Britain.
At the same time, Coca-Cola continues to work with local reprocessors to double the amount of recycled PET used in all its plastic bottles, across 20 brands, to at least 50%. The new packs will be launched ahead of schedule in early 2020 and will make Coca-Cola the biggest 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 from 2020.
In addition, Coca-Cola is replacing the current iconic green Sprite bottle with a clear pack in order to make it easier to recycle back into new drinks bottles. The change, which will come into effect from September this year, is a further sign of the company’s commitment to support recycling and the circular economy in this country. Sprite will also increase the amount of rPET it contains to 50% next year.
Jon Woods, General Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “Using more recycled plastic is a critical element of our sustainable packaging strategy, 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.”
Commenting on the news, 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, WRAP said: “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.”
Coca-Cola has a strong track record of investing in recycled PET and began using recycled PET in its bottle in the 1990’s. Over the last decade Coca-Cola has supported the development of many recycling plants around the world, including the UK’s only bottle reprocessing plant in Lincolnshire, which it helped to build and which has been providing the recycled material used in their 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 the latest action from Coca-Cola as it marks two years since it launched its sustainable packaging strategy – in which it set out an ambition to work with others to ensure that all its packaging is recovered so that more can be recycled and none ends up as waste.
In addition to increasing the amount of recycled plastic in all its drinks, other actions taken in the past year include the company’s ongoing efforts to encourage people to recycle their drinks packaging through social media campaigns, advertising and the inclusion of messaging to ‘Please recycle me’ on all plastics bottles and in all of its advertising.
Today’s announcement comes as The Coca-Cola Company takes a series of actions in countries across Western Europe that will remove 9,000 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation and replace it with recycled plastic over the course of the next year.