CCE, the world's third-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, is investing £5m in a newrecycling facility that is expected to increase the total of PET bottles reprocessed in Great Britain (GB) from approximately 35,000 tonnes last year to 75,000 tonnes, when the site is fully operational.
“The hope is that other beverage companies will follow CCE’s lead, ” a spokesperson for ECO Plastics told FoodProductionDaily.com.
ECO Plastics is raising an additional £10m to complete funding for the plant, which is expected to be operational by next year.
The facility will be built at ECO Plastics’ current site in Lincolnshire.
Ten-year joint venture
CCE has signed a ten-year joint venture deal with ECO Plastics that guarantees an annual supply of rPET — PET that is recycled to make food-grade, sustainable packaging.
The collaboration will supply the company with enough GB-sourced rPET to achieve its target of including 25 per cent rPET in all its plastic packaging in GB by 2012.
According to the companies, the deal is a first for the British drinks manufacturing industry. ECO Plastics said the project will bring recycling in GB “full circle”, as used British packaging will be recycled in Lincolnshire for packaging to 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.
Jonathan Short, managing director, ECO Plastics, said that demand for sustainable packaging in GB had gathered pace in recent years, whilst GB’s supply of recycled plastics had grown significantly.
“Coca-Cola Enterprises has recognised these trends and has taken positive action that will help accelerate UK plastics recycling. This is the 'low carbon economy' in practice,” he said.
The joint venture will also create 15 jobs during the construction phase and up to 30 new jobs once the site is operational.
ECO Plastics said its existing facility is already the largest in Europe, and can process more than 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic or 2bn bottles a year.
Simon Baldry, CCE GB managing director said: “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.”