Coca Cola Enterprises joint venture aims to change plastics recycling in Great Britain

Linda Casey

January 29, 2014

3 Min Read
Coca Cola Enterprises joint venture aims to change plastics recycling in Great Britain

Coca Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE) has announced a joint venture with ECO Plastics to develop a new purpose built recycling facility in Lincolnshire. CCE is investing £5m in the new plant to more than double Great Britain's production of food grade recycled PET.

Approximately 35,000 tons of PET bottles were reprocessed in Great Britain (GB) last year. The new facility should increase this total to more than 75,000 tons when it is fully operational-more than doubling the amount of high quality rPET (recycled PET that can be used to make food grade, sustainable packaging) currently produced in Britain.


The state of the art plastics reprocessing plant will also supply CCE with enough GB-sourced, high-quality rPET to achieve CCE's target of including 25 percent rPET in all its plastic packaging in GB by 2012.


CCE GB managing director, Simon Baldry says: "CCE is committed to transforming recycling in Great Britain. Our investment in this project with ECO Plastics will start to address the recycling challenges in this country. British PET bottles will be recycled for re use in packaging that will be sold from the shelves of British retailers.


"The amounts of high quality rPET produced in GB will more than double, enabling CCE to meet our ambitious target of incorporating 25 percent rPET in all our plastic bottles by 2012," he adds. "At the same time, we are working with our customers to encourage shoppers to recycle more as part of our wider sustainability efforts."


CCE has signed a 10 year joint venture deal with ECO Plastics that guarantees an annual supply of rPET to CCE. CCE is making a £5 million equity investment to support construction of the new facility, with ECO Plastics raising an additional £10 million to complete funding for the project.


The companies say the deal is a first for the British drinks manufacturing industry, bringing recycling in GB full circle, as used British packaging will be recycled in Lincolnshire for re use in packaging that will then be sold in Britain. Currently, CCE sources food grade rPET from continental Europe, while around two thirds of used GB plastics packaging is exported for reprocessing.


The new recycling facility will be built on ECO Plastics' current site in Lincolnshire, and will be operational next year. The joint venture will create 15 jobs during the construction phase and up to 30 new jobs once the site is operational.


ECO Plastics says its existing facility is already the largest in Europe, capable of processing more than 100,000 tons of waste plastic or 2 billion bottles a year, and independent research has shown that products made with recycled plastic from the ECO Plastics site are 68 percent less carbon intensive than packaging made with virgin materials.


Jonathan Short, managing director, ECO Plastics, remarks: "Demand for sustainable packaging in the UK has gathered pace in recent years, whilst the UK supply of recycled plastics has grown significantly. Coca Cola Enterprises has recognized these trends and has taken positive action that will help accelerate UK plastics recycling. This is the 'low carbon economy' in practice."


Commenting on the joint venture between CCE and Eco Plastics, Lord Henley, Waste Minister, of DEFRA, which is the UK's Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, says: "This investment builds on the public's enthusiasm for recycling and will make it easier for them to buy recycled plastic products, such as the famous Coca Cola bottle. Coca Cola and ECO Plastics' efforts are an innovative blueprint for the future, and show how producers can take responsibility to step up to this challenge."



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