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Deposit Return Scheme: T-minus 12 months

Jim Fox, Head of Public Affairs

Jim Fox, Head of Public Affairs | Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

3 min read Partner content

The topic of sustainability is continually in the spotlight – and rightly so. Droughts and wildfires in recent weeks are, sadly, a stark reminder of how pressing the climate emergency is.

As a business, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint and recognise we have an important part to play in taking consumers on this journey with us. One area where we know we have a significant impact, and where we can help to tackle the problem, is through our packaging.

The good news is the food and drink sector has made great strides when it comes to accelerating the use of recycled content in packaging in recent months.

At Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) we recently announced the roll-out of attached caps on our plastic bottles, making it easier to recycle the entire package and ensure no cap gets left behind. We’ve increased the use of recycled plastic (rPET) in our 500ml bottles too, which are now made from 100% rPET. This will help to save more than 29,000 tonnes of ‘new’ non-recycled plastic across our operations in Great Britain every year.

And it’s hugely encouraging to see similar steps from others in the sector, contributing to efforts to create a closed loop for packaging.

Part of this means continuing to do all we can to recover more high-quality plastic, and key to achieving this is through the implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) where consumers pay a small deposit when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

We’ve been working with Circularity Scotland to support the implementation of an effective DRS in Scotland, which is due to go live in 12 months’ time. DRS will play a vital role in helping to recover more high-quality plastic to be reused and we continue to work closely with the UK governments to support the introduction of consistent and interoperable schemes across the country.

As a leader in the industry, we recognise that we have a role to play in educating consumers by working collaboratively with our retail customers and with governments to help ensure that the scheme is as effective as possible. If successful, a DRS will deliver significant positive outcomes for the environment and help towards creating a circular economy for packaging.

A truly impactful DRS will only work well if we implement a consistent approach and if the schemes are fully interoperable. It’s important to get it right so that it works for the industry, consumers and, crucially, the environment.

These collaborations with Government and industry partners are essential in helping us to achieve our sustainability goals so that, together, we can create meaningful change, one step at a time.


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Engineering a Better World

The Engineering a Better World podcast series from The House magazine and the IET is back for series two! New host Jonn Elledge discusses with parliamentarians and industry experts how technology and engineering can provide policy solutions to our changing world.

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