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by Jim Fox, Coca-Cola
23 August 2021
Associate Feature: A new beginning for used packaging

Associate Feature: A new beginning for used packaging

In many ways, September feels like a fresh start. Parliament is back in session, a new school term is beginning, and we are entering a new season.

With the country moving out of Level Zero restrictions in August, people are looking ahead with more optimism than we have seen during the past twelve months.

September will also be significant for us at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, as we mark an important step on our sustainability journey.

Earlier this year we announced we will be introducing 500ml bottles made with 100 per cent recycled plastic (rPET) across our core range and production starts later this month. This will help to save more than 29,000 tonnes of ‘new’ non-recycled plastic across our operations in GB every year.

The move forms part of our ongoing This is Forward sustainability journey and comes approximately one year on from the achievement of reaching 50 per cent rPET bottles across our entire range.

Our GLACEAU Smartwater range also became the first water bottle range in Great Britain to be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (rPET) back in 2019.

Reaching our latest milestone was not without its challenges. We had to ensure that it could be done in a way that was viable in the long-term and that we had enough material that was of the required quality to be used in our existing production process.

Indeed, the availability of material remains a significant obstacle in our efforts to achieve 100 per cent rPET across all of our bottles and we know that more needs to be done to ensure that enough high-grade used plastic that is suitable to be reused is captured and recycled.

That is why we have long supported the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) here in Scotland, and across Great Britain. We believe it is a vital part of a truly circular economy, reducing litter, collecting more packaging that can be reused, and helping to achieve our ambition of a world without waste.

Earlier this year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined DRS as one of the priorities for her Government, recognising just how important it is.

In support of Circularity Scotland, the designated scheme administrator for DRS in Scotland, we’re working with all stakeholders to bring about the introduction of a scheme that is as effective as possible.

Having a scheme that works for everyone will be a vital step in ensuring that 100 per cent of our packaging is collected, recycled and reused and we are committed to working together to ensure that it can be introduced as soon as it can be practically delivered.

Despite the challenges we’ve faced – and will continue to face – we’ve remained resolute in prioritising our environmental goals in GB. Last year we outlined our roadmap to net zero emissions by 2040, and our move towards 100 per cent rPET packaging is another important step on our This Is Forward journey.

Last month’s IPCC report laid bare the scale of the task that faces all of us in regards to tackling the worst impacts of climate change and with just two months until COP26 in Glasgow, the message is clear: more must be done, and we cannot afford to wait.

It is essential we take this opportunity and redouble our efforts to tackle the harm that is being done to our planet.

As the largest soft drinks bottler in Europe and a leading employer here in Scotland, we recognise the responsibility we have to make a positive difference and we will continue to go further faster in achieving our sustainability goals.

Jim Fox is head of public affairs for Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

This article was sponsored by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

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