Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has unveiled two initiatives aimed at improving recycling behaviour and infrastructure.
CCE, which handles Coca-Cola in Europe, is establishing a joint venture in France with PET recycler APPE to boost the capacity of its plastics reprocessing facility by 70%. The plant will recycle 20,000 additional tons of plastic into food-grade packaging per year.
The company is also funding a research partnership to explore how strategies to change consumer behaviour can improve at-home recycling rates in Great Britain and France.
Recycling rates in these two countries remain below most of the wrest of Europe despite growing awareness of environmental concerns among consumers. Just half of plastic bottles are collected for recycling in these countries; as a result, manufacturers face restrictions in the supply of locally available recycled PET.
“Our goal to lead our industry in sustainable packaging and recycling means we must support and promote improvements throughout our value chain,” said John Brock, chairman and CEO of CCE.
“These initiatives aim to address two of our biggest challenges in this area – improving recycling rates by influencing consumer behaviour at home and meeting the increasing demand for recycled PET through investments in strategic infrastructure projects.”
While consumers express strong support for recycling, at-home rates do not reflect this. Seventy-nine percent of consumers polled at the 2012 Olympics Games claimed to always recycle plastic bottles at home, yet national data shows that recycling rates are much lower.
The research programme will seek to define interventions that can overcome the gap between belief and behaviour. It will be delivered in partnership with the University of Exeter and will be based upon in-depth research with households in Great Britain and France over a 10-month period.