Coca-Cola GB to opt 100% recycled plastic in all on-the-go sized bottles

Move covers the entire portfolio of brands, including Coca-Cola Original Taste, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt
Coca-Cola GB to opt 100% recycled plastic in all on-the-go sized bottles
Coca-Cola GB’s use of recycled plastics saves 29,000 tones of virgin plastic each yearPhoto - Coca-Cola Great Britain

Coca‑Cola Great Britain (GB), in partnership with Coca‑Cola Europacific Partners, has recently announced that it is set to reach a significant milestone by using 100% recycled plastic in all on-the-go bottles across its entire range, as it continues its progress towards fully sustainable packaging.

The move means that all plastic bottles of 500ml or less in GB are to be made with 100% recycled plastic and will continue to be fully recyclable. The rollout commences in September when the first 100% recycled 500ml bottles will start appearing on shelves.

This milestone means Coca‑Cola Great Britain will increase recycled plastic material in smaller bottles from 50% to 100%.

This milestone means Coca‑Cola will have increased recycled plastic material in smaller bottles from 50% to 100%. Coca‑Cola’s use of recycled plastics in Great Britain now saves 29,000 tons of virgin plastic each year – the equivalent of 2,292 double-decker buses.

This change is another step on Coca‑Cola’s journey towards 100% recycled or renewable plastic in all its bottles and creating a circular economy for its PET packaging. The company is also completing the transition from plastic shrink wrap to cardboard packaging across all multipacks. This important action will mean that more than 30 million packs sold to consumers each year will no longer be wrapped in plastic.

Although all of Coca‑Cola’s bottles have been 100% recyclable for many years, too many are still not being recycled. To make it easier to recycle plastic bottles, Coca‑Cola has been working closely with the Scottish and Westminster governments and industry partners on a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). This will encourage more people to recycle and ensure a greater collection of bottles in a clean, efficient way so that they can be remade into new bottles again and again.

An effective DRS is planned for implementation in Scotland by July next year, with England and Wales following thereafter.

Jon Woods, general manager at Coca‑Cola Great Britain, said, “This announcement marks an important step towards our ambition to remove all non-recycled plastic from our bottles, and our global aim to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for everyone that we sell by 2025.

“But there is still more we as an industry can do to increase the availability of food-grade recycled plastic locally available in Great Britain. That’s why we support the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme, to ensure we collect more bottles and can produce more high-quality recycled plastic which can be converted into new bottles.”

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said, “I am delighted to see Coca‑Cola Great Britain taking this significant step to ensure its on-the-go bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic.

“We are committed to crack down on plastic pollution through our landmark reforms such as a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and making manufacturers more responsible for their packaging. Bold measures of this nature from industry will play a huge role in helping us to achieve this ambition.”

Helen Bird, strategic technical manager, WRAP, said, “It takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic, and with plastic waste significantly contributing to fossil emissions when incinerated, it’s never been more important to specify recycled content and keep packaging in a circular system. It’s positive to see Coke, founding members of The UK Plastics Pact, continuing to push the boundaries on design and engaging with its customers to place the bottles in the recycling, since achieving 100% recycled content is going to be strongly reliant on getting those bottles back.”

More broadly, Coca‑Cola continues to use the power of its brands and advertising to encourage people to recycle more – from launching major advertising campaigns to including recycling messages on its packaging in all marketing campaigns and experiential events.

This month, the company launched a new marketing campaign for its GLACÉAU Smartwater brand, encouraging more people to recycle the bottles. Bold messaging on-pack reminds consumers that the bottles are 100% recyclable and made from 100% recycled PET plastic (rPET).

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