Soft drinks giants take the lead on packaging revolution

Soft drinks

With the ‘green recovery’ well underway, it’s the UK’s soft drinks manufacturers that are taking the lead on driving a revolution in the way their products are packaged with some inspiring innovation and creativity.


Last month saw the official ‘Recycle Week’ come and go with probably less of a furore than its organisers would have hoped for, but the one category to take the recycling festival seriously was soft drinks. Many of the UK’s biggest soft drinks brands chose to support the week by unveiling their latest news and innovations to drive consumer and retailer interest in reducing our collective impact on the planet.

Coca-Cola European Partners: sustainability milestone reached

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), in partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain, announced last month that all plastic bottles across all its core brands made in Great Britain are now made with 50% recycled plastic (rPET). The move means the company is now using over 21,000 tonnes of recycled plastic per year and rPET now accounts for 50% of all plastic used in bottles across the company’s core range made in Great Britain. With this change Coca-Cola increases its rPET usage by a further 25%.

Bottles will now carry new labels notifying consumers of the change and encouraging them to recycle the bottle.

The move comes as part of Coke’s long-term investment in the UK’s circular economy, since helping to establish the UK’s biggest bottle-to-bottle plastic reprocessing facility in Lincolnshire in 2012 which reprocesses bottles collected from households across the UK.

Stephen Moorhouse, General Manager at CCEP GB, said: “One of the key challenges the industry currently faces is that there isn’t enough food-grade recycled plastic locally available in the UK to switch to 100% rPET across our entire range. There needs to be more high-quality recycled plastic produced, so it’s vital to make sure we collect more bottles in an efficient way, and stop it ending up as waste.

“That’s why we support the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), consistent across Great Britain and coupled with investment in infrastructure.”

Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I: paper straw first

Ribena has become the first major juice drinks brand in the UK to introduce a paper straw to its drinks cartons. Ribena’s bendable paper straws will reduce the amount of plastic waste lost to landfill. Plastic straws are currently hard to recycle in the UK, largely due to their size. If people don’t push the straw back into the carton when finished, it can get lost in the recycling process, often falling through gaps on recycling centre sorting belts.

“Developing a bendable, durable paper straw hasn’t been easy, but recycling it should be,” says Jo Padwick, Business Transformation Manager at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I.

Britvic: retailers ‘should set recycling example’

Britvic released new research on Monday that it had commissioned to understand the recycling habits of the nation. The research reveals that most Brits (93%) think that it’s important that retailers set an example to others when it comes to recycling, with over half (53%) thinking retailers could do more to help consumers.

The research also revealed that over two thirds (68%) of consumers think that a DRS would encourage more people to recycle drinks bottles and cans.

“At Britvic, we are committed supporters of a well-designed GB-wide DRS and it’s time for us, along with the industry, to take responsibility to create a world-class scheme to support the drive towards a healthier planet that we can leave to future generations,” says Sarah Webster, Director of Sustainable Business at Britvic. “Sustainability is no longer an option for businesses, it’s fundamental to future success.

“Recycling as much as we can is vital, and it’s important that we work with retailers to set the right example to help encourage good recycling habits.”

The recycling habits of the nation

A recent study by Britvic into UK recycling habits found:

  • 66% of Brits don’t know what happens to their recycling once it’s taken away
  • A third think their recycling probably ends up in landfill
  • A fifth (20%) think they could probably recycle roughly half of the rubbish they throw in the normal bin
  • 60% of Brits feel guilty if they put rubbish in the bin that could be recycled – 30% don’t
  • The main reason for not recycling is a lack of understanding of the recycling messages of products (25%)
  • A third of Brits try to teach their children how to recycle to get them in the habit when while they’re still young

Countdown to Christmas week one