Apparently, it's the real thing for Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP): five years since investing in a pioneering initiative to transform plastics recycling in Great Britain, CCEP's recycling venture is still in robust health. The anniversary comes as CCEP passed the milestone of sourcing 50,000 tonnes of food-grade recycled plastic (rPET) for its portfolio of products sold in GB.
As Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at CCEP, commented: “Five years ago we made a significant investment as part of our long-term commitment to transforming British recycling.”
The original joint venture, culminating in the opening of the plastics recycling plant at Hemswell, near Gainsborough, marked a step change in Great Britain's reprocessing capabilities, with the almost €17m (£15m) facility doubling the national production of rPET.
“The expansion of this facility was a landmark moment, not only in allowing CCEP to meet targets for rPET content in our packaging, but also in supporting the growth of a domestic system that helped to close the loop in GB plastic bottle reprocessing,” said Brown, adding today, six out of every 10 bottles are now being recycled in the UK.
Clean Tech was acquired in 2016 by Plastipak, Europe's largest food-grade rPET producer. Since acquiring Clean Tech, Plastipak has continued to invest to further increase both the output and quality of the recycled material at Hemswell. The plant operates a full-circle, domestic recycling system: used PET plastic packaging is sourced from households and local authorities across Great Britain, then sorted and reprocessed in the facility in Lincolnshire, before returning to the shelves of British shops as part of another bottle within as little as six weeks.
Via the Hemswell plant, CCEP has so far reused materials from some two billion PET bottles, and reached its goal of using 25 per cent rPET in all its bottles since 2012.