We have a key role to play in supporting behaviour change in the way we inform our consumers on our packaging to 'Please Recycle This Bottle'
Coca-Cola European Partners' Sustainable Packaging Manager marks the first anniversary the UK Plastics Pact, which involves the whole plastics value chain and is crucial to working with others in industry to create change in the system.
At Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), we are always looking at new ways to innovate and help develop sustainable packaging. It’s the reason we became a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact last year. Led by WRAP, and as the first of a global networks of Pacts enabled by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy initiative, The UK Plastics Pact is leading a global wave of change in the way we make, use, re-use and dispose of plastic; The concept of a circular economy for plastics.
It is now a year since The UK Plastics Pact was established and we joined forces with over a 100 other organisations in addressing the sustainable use of plastic. To mark the anniversary of The UK Plastics Pact, WRAP has released a report detailing the progress it’s members have made in reaching the goals they set out.
Specifically, The UK Plastics Pact outlined four specific targets for members to work towards achieving by 2025. These spanned the elimination of problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging, making 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable, 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted and 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging. These targets align directly with our ‘This is Forward’ sustainability action plan at CCEP.
As a company, we are proud to report that our bottles are already 100% recyclable and around a quarter of the plastic used to make them is recycled content, moving to half by next year. We feel we have a key role to play in supporting behaviour change in the way we inform our consumers on our packaging, with our “Please Recycle This Bottle” message now on all 500ml Coca-Cola bottle closures, totalling around ½ billion packs a year delivering this direct call to action.
We are involved with a number of initiatives aiming to increase how much of our packaging is recycled, with a bold ambition to collect all of our packaging back, and to ensure our packaging is as sustainable as possible. This includes projects aimed at enhancing our understanding of the way we deal with plastics as a society. For instance, our work with the University of Reading saw us introduce refillable bottles and Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, to explore how people engage with refillable systems. We also work closely with a number of key community groups and charities in the UK, such as Keep Britain Tidy and Keep Scotland Beautiful, to understand how we can prevent littering and support clean-up initiatives.
Being part of The UK Plastics Pact, which involves the whole plastics value chain, is crucial to the way we work with others in Industry to create change in the system. At CCEP, we collaborate with a number of other organisations to ensure we operate in the most sustainable way as a business. This includes an ongoing partnership with Plastipak, resulting over 80,000 tonnes of recycled bottles being used in our packaging. We are also part of key working groups to support the transformation of the way plastic bottles and other plastic packaging is dealt with in the UK, such as through the development of guidelines as to what an effective Deposit Return Scheme would look like to enable the high capture of quality materials.
We recognise the importance of initiatives such as The UK Plastics Pact and will continue to engage in efforts that bring key stakeholders together for positive change.