Coca-Cola Invests in UK Bottle Recycling Facility

Coca-Cola Enterprises has partnered with ECO Plastics to expand a recycling center in Lincolnshire, UK.  The recycling center, which recycles plastic bottles, will undergo a £15m renovation to expand the facilities; Coca-Cola Enterprises is providing £5m for the project.  This expansion will double the amount of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) currently recycled in the United Kingdom.

Partnership Will Help Keep It Local
In addition to providing funds for the renovation of the Lincolnshire recycling center, Coca-Cola Enterprises and ECO Plastics have also forged a 10-year supplier agreement that guarantees the recycled plastic will be used in Coca-Cola Enterprises packaging.  Prior to this agreement, Coca-Cola Enterprises obtained recycled PET by importing it from continental Europe.  Coca-Cola's supplier agreement with ECO Plastics will alter the supply chain so that plastic recycled in the UK is then used in Coca-Cola products that are sold in the UK.  Coca-Cola Enterprises has set a goal of having all its plastic packaging contain at least 25% recycled PET by 2012.

Currently, two-thirds of the plastic waste in the UK is exported for reprocessing, but the expansion of the Lincolnshire center will drastically reduce that export and make recycled plastic more readily available for UK consumers.  ECO Plastics is the only reprocessing company in the UK that produces recycled PET that is “food grade,” meaning it can be used to package consumable products such as Coca-Cola beverages.  The Lincolnshire facility currently reprocesses 35,000 metric tons of PET, but after the renovation, the output is expected to increase to 75,000 metric tons.

Coca-Cola Enterprises' Larger Sustainability Efforts
In 2009, Coca-Cola Enterprises ranked number 285 on the Global 1000 list, which ranks companies according to their sustainability and corporate social responsibility performance.  Coca-Cola Enterprises has placed recycling and sustainable packaging at the forefront of their corporate responsibility endeavors.  The company claims that 99% of the waste at their manufacturing facilities is either recycled or recovered.  Aluminum cans from Coca-Cola Enterprises contain 50% recycled aluminum, and glass bottles contain 30% recycled glass; this new partnership with ECO Plastics will bring their sustainability efforts into their plastic bottles as well.  Coca-Cola Enterprises is the only licensed bottler of Coca-Cola products for the UK, as well as European countries such as Belgium, France, Norway and Sweden.  Other Coca-Cola distributors include U.S.-based The Coca-Cola Company and Greece-based Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, both of which currently rank higher than Coca-Cola Enterprises on the Global 1000 list.

Photo Credit:  Genista