Coca-Cola recycles 10,000t of plastic a year

Coca-Cola European Partners has recycled 50,000t of plastic in five years. Pictured: Nick Brown (left) and Chris Brown (right)

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has reused more than 50,000t of plastic from about 2bn bottles for its portfolio of products sold in Britain in the past five years, claimed the drinks manufacturer.

It has also reached its goal of using 25% food-grade recycled plastic in all its bottles, as it celebrates the five-year anniversary of its partnership with recycling firm Clean Tech UK.

Used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic packaging is sourced from households and local authorities across the country, then sorted and reprocessed in the Clean Tech facility in Hemswell, Lincolnshire. The plastic then returns to the shelves of British shops as part of another bottle within six weeks.

‘Positive outlook for the future’

CCEP’s head of sustainability Nick Brown said: “We are confident that the progress evident in GB over the last 10 years – having moved from a limited collection of plastic bottles to six out of every 10 now being recycled – indicates a positive outlook for the future.

“We hope that initiatives like this give consumers confidence in the potential to recycle here in GB, and will encourage them to recycle every bottle after use. We are continually evolving our recycling strategy and investing in innovations to support our overall sustainability commitments.”

CCEP invested £15M into Clean Tech UK in 2012, doubling the production of recycled PET in Britain, claimed the drinks producer. Clean Tech was acquired by European recycled plastics producer Plastipak las year.

Doubling the production of recycled PET

Martin Hargreaves, md of Plastipak Europe, said: “Plastipak, through its subsidiary Clean Tech, is committed to UK PET plastic recycling and our close relationship with CCEP. 

“As a global packaging producer, Plastipak embraces its responsibility towards the environment, demonstrated by our continued investment to further increase both the output and quality of our recycled material at Hemswell.”

Meanwhile, the plastics packaging supply chain should not only commit to using food-grade recycled PET in its containers, as some brand-owners already do, but even be required to take a direct financial stake in collection and recycling infrastructure, according recycling technology consultancy Nextek.

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