All Coca-Cola on-the-go bottles to be made from recycled plastic

Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) have announced the transition to 100 per cent recycled plastic in all on-the-go bottles of 500ml or less.

The packaging will be made of fully recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) plastic.

Zero 500mlThe move covers the company’s entire portfolio of drinks brands including Coca-Cola Original Taste, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt.

The new bottles will continue to be entirely recyclable, with the rollout commencing in September, when the first 100 per cent recycled 500ml bottles will start appearing on shelves. 

Bold messaging on-pack reminds consumers that the bottles are 100 per cent recyclable and made entirely from rPET plastic.

This move will see the company increase the amount of recycled plastic material used in smaller bottles from 50 per cent to 100 per cent. 

Coca-Cola’s increased use of these recycled plastics hopes to save approximately 29,000 tonnes of virgin plastic each year.

The company is also completing the transition from plastic shrink wrap to cardboard packaging across all multipacks.

This action will mean that more than 30 million packs sold to consumers each year will no longer be wrapped in plastic.

To make it easier to recycle their plastic bottles, Coca-Cola has been working closely with the Scottish and Westminster governments and industry partners on an operational Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Such schemes function by adding a small deposit on top of the price of the product, which the consumer will receive back once the container is deposited at a designated recycling point.

This will aim to encourage more people to recycle and ensure an increased collection of bottles, ready to be remade into new bottles.

The DRS is planned for implementation in Scotland by July next year, with England and Wales following thereafter.

Stephen Moorhouse, General Manager at CCEP GB, said: “Increasing the amount of recycled plastic we use is a critical point in our sustainable packaging journey and reaching 100 per cent rPET puts us one step closer to achieving our ambition of a world without waste -- collecting and recycling a bottle or can for every one that we sell by 2025.”

Helen Bird, Strategic Technical Manager of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), said: “It takes 75 per cent less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic, and with plastic waste significantly contributing to fossil emissions when incinerated, it’s never been more important to specify recycled content and keep packaging in a circular system.

“It’s positive to see Coke, founding members of The UK Plastics Pact, continuing to push the boundaries on design and engaging with its customers to place the bottles in the recycling, since achieving 100 per cent recycled content is going to be strongly reliant on getting those bottles back.”