Our plans will ensure 23k tonnes of virgin plastic is saved annually by 2020 but there is much more to do - CCEP

Posted On: 
21st June 2019

Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners GB, talks about the business’ latest packaging initiatives, two years since the company launched its sustainable packaging strategy.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is fully focused on making the circular economy a reality.
Credit: 
CCEP

At Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), we’re fully focused on making the circular economy a reality. For us, this means performing more sustainably as a business, providing the infrastructure needed to facilitate increased recycling within our local communities, and continued engagement with our consumers, too. In support of these aims, I am excited to announce the two latest brand initiatives to come out of our sustainability action plan, This is Forward.

We’ve already taken some positive steps within the business in terms of our packaging solutions, so I’m pleased we’re continuing to drive this forward – with our GLACEAU smartwater bottles set to be made from 100% recycled PET plastic by the end of the year. GLACEAU smartwater is an important part of our portfolio and the third largest on-the-go bottled water brand in the country. The changes made to the production of GLACEAU smartwater will remove 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation each year, and means the brand will use more recycled plastic in its packaging than any bottled water brand in GB.

At the same time we continue to work with local reprocessors to double the amount of recycled PET used in our plastic bottles, across 20 brands, to at least 50% by 2020, which also feeds into a further commitment we made when we joined the UK Plastics Pact with WRAP last year. All signatories of the Pact committed to reaching at least 30% recycled plastics by 2025. Our new packs, which will be launched ahead of schedule in early 2020, will make us the biggest user in GB of recycled PET plastic.

Our second change, which sees Sprite replace its current iconic green bottle with a clear pack, will also form an important part of our bold ambition to ensure that 100% of our packaging is collected, reused or recycled, and that none ends up as litter. Sprite has become recognised throughout the world for its signature green bottle, but we understand that this makes it difficult for reprocessing plants to convert them into a bottle that can be used again, which is a core priority for us as a business. This move to clear plastic bottles later on this year therefore highlights our serious commitment to innovating our packaging to make it as sustainable as possible – with the overall ambition to help improve recycling rates in Britain.

These initiatives together, will ensure that 23,000 tonnes of virgin plastic annually will no longer be used by the business in GB from 2020. As CCEP’s Head of Sustainability, I’m proud of the progress we’re making in this area, and the positive impact it will have on the environment. These are real milestones for our business and something I’m pleased to be a part of, but we can go further. However, that requires more packaging to be collected so that more can be reused to make new bottles. That’s why we support the planned reforms of the current recycling system in GB, continue to champion reform of the Packaging Producer Responsibility Scheme and are calling for the introduction of a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers which we believe will reduce litter and increase the quantity and quality of material reprocessed in this country.

The latest actions I’ve mentioned marks two years since we launched our sustainable packaging strategy. We know there is more to be done to support a robust circular economy in GB -  we need to think and act more greenly, develop more sustainable means of production, and continue to work with other likeminded organisations – from consumers and local partners to waste and recycling facilitators – to bring about real change and make the circular economy a reality.