Defra minister visits Europe’s largest bottling facility with Coca-Cola
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has visited Europe’s largest plastic bottle recycling facility to see how Coca-Cola plans to double the amount of recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) used in all its bottles by 2020.
As a key plank of its new sustainable packaging strategy, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) plans to use 50% recycled PET in all its plastic bottles by the end of the decade.
To achieve this goal, the firm is further developing its partnership with Clean Tech UK, a subsidiary of Plastipak Europe, which will supply the recycled material from its reprocessing plant in Hemswell, Lincolnshire.
Dr Coffey visited the plant this week and said she hoped more companies would follow in CCEP’s footsteps in making sure their products are more sustainable.
The plant, which was acquired by Plastipak Europe in 2016, has been supplying recycled PET to CCEP for five years. Bottles made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) can be recycled to reuse the material out of which they are made.
CCEP has already sourced 50,000 tonnes of recycled PET from the plant and is now set to become the largest user of recycled plastic in the food and drink industry through its new deal with Clean Tech.
The two businesses were able to share with the Minister their ideas for increasing the number of plastic bottles recycled in Great Britain.
Ms Coffey said: “It is really encouraging to see Coca-Cola embracing sustainable packaging options to help reduce waste, make better use of resources and encourage more people to recycle and cut littering. I hope more companies will follow suit with steps to make their products more sustainable.”
Julian Hunt, Vice President Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “Our desire to double the amount of recycled material we use in our plastic bottles sends a clear signal that we want to play a positive role in supporting the circular economy here in Great Britain.
“Our ambition – and our ability to go further in the future – will require reform of the packaging collection system in Great Britain and we will work with others to champion the changes that are required to ensure all our valuable materials are recovered.”
Chris Brown, Managing Director of Clean Tech UK, said: “Plastipak, through its subsidiary Clean Tech, is committed to UK PET plastic recycling and our close relationship with CCEP. As a global packaging producer, Plastipak embraces its responsibility towards the environment, demonstrated by our continued investment to further increase both the output and quality of our recycled material at Hemswell. We look forward to working with CCEP and the beverage industry at large to make the vision of a true circular economy a reality in Great Britain.”
CCEP partnership with Clean Tech UK forms part of the company’s wider ambition to work with local and national partners to recover all of its packaging so that more is recycled and none ends up as litter.