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Coca-Cola boost to plastic recycling

24 August 2012

Coca-Cola, is adopting the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC’s) On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL), giving an enormous boost to efforts to reduce the proportion of plastic drinks bottles ending up in landfill

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is rolling out the widely recognised OPRL system which gives consumers standardised information on which packaging materials local authorities collect for recycling. More than 90 per cent of councils now collect plastic bottles at the kerbside but, despite massive growth over the last few years, consumers are only recycling around half of plastic bottles.

The relevant OPRL logo – plastic, widely recycled – is starting to appear initially on 500ml bottles of Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and Diet Coke sold in Great Britain, but will be introduced over time across other products and packs made by CCE.

CCE, the bottler of Coca-Cola products in Great Britain, is the country’s biggest soft drinks manufacturer – supplying 160,000 outlets with approximately 1.8bn litres of soft drinks a year. The BRC says that CCE’s adoption of the scheme will see a significant increase in the number of bottles and cans which will now carry this clearer recycling advice.

British Retail Consortium Director of Food and Sustainability Andrew Opie, said: “The On-Pack Recycling Label has become a familiar sight to consumers in the three years since it was introduced. It’s great to welcome Coca-Cola Enterprises to the list of nearly 150 signatories, particularly because of what we hope this will mean for plastic bottle recycling.

“Just five out of every 10 plastic bottles sold in the UK is recycled and we would like to see much more. Coca-Cola’s adoption of our recycling logo means thousands more people will be reminded every day how easy it is to stop plastic bottles ending up in landfill.”

Patrick McGuirk, Coca-Cola Enterprises’ Recycling Director, said: “We are serious about setting the industry standard for sustainable packaging and are committed to transforming recycling in this country. That’s why we have invested in a £15M facility called Continuum Recycling to more than double the UK’s capacity for PET bottle reprocessing. This facility will allow us to meet our ambition of incorporating at least 25 per cent recycled material in our plastic bottles by the end of this year.

“Our bottles and cans are easily recycled and our research shows consumers will recycle more if they know what can be recycled. We have had a recycling logo on our packs for many years but the inclusion of OPRL information makes it easier for consumers to recycle their bottles through kerbside collection schemes. Our message is simple – recycle your bottle at home and it can be back on the shelf within six weeks.”

Marcus Gover, Director of the Closed Loop Economy at WRAP, said: “It’s great that the UK is recycling 50 per cent of plastic bottles – and WRAP’s recent guidance on this will help local authorities improve collections further. But we’re still throwing away one in two bottles, so WRAP welcomes initiatives like this that encourage people to recycle more – this is a very positive step.”

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