Coca-Cola is to switch its entire Glacéau Smartwater range into plastic bottles made from 100% recycled PET plastic, as part of its latest move to slash single-use plastic.
The soft drinks giant also announced today it was replacing the green Sprite bottle with a new clear pack to make it easier to recycle.
The announcements by Coca-Cola Great Britain, in partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), came as it said it was on track to double the amount of PET used in all its plastic bottles in early 2020.
The Glacéau Smartwater change will be introduced by the end of the year and see both 600ml and 850ml variants switching to bottles made from 100% recycled PET plastic.
Coke said the changes would remove 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation every year, and that Glacéau Smartwater would use more recycled plastic in its packaging than any bottled water brand in Great Britain.
Doubling the amount of recycled PET used in all its plastic bottles, across 20 brands, to at least 50% would ensure more than 23,000 tonnes of virgin plastic annually would no longer be used by the business.
The changes to Sprite’s packaging will come into effect from September this year.
“Using more recycled plastic is a critical element of our sustainable packaging strategy, as it reduces the amount of virgin material used in our packs,” said CCEP vice-president and general manager Leendert den Hollander.
“None of this is easy and I am proud of the teams’ work to ensure we are on track to move to at least 50% recycled PET plastic on all of our bottles in 2020. “Our new Smartwater bottle shows we can go further. But that requires more packaging to be collected so that more can be reused to make new bottles. That’s why we support the planned reforms of the current recycling system in Great Britain and are calling for the introduction of a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers, which we believe will reduce litter and increase the quantity and quality of material reprocessed in this country.”
Environment minister Thérèse Coffey welcomed the plans as a “significant step”.
“These initiatives, including using more recycled plastic in their bottles, set a fine example to other large businesses and we hope that others follow suit,” she said.
“We all have a responsibility to our environment. Through our landmark Resources & Waste Strategy the government is committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle for a more circular economy.”
Wrap chief executive Marcus Gover said: “Coca-Cola was one of the founding members of the UK Plastics Pact and it’s great to see them announce developments which demonstrate progress towards the Pact’s targets. “A bottle made from recycled plastic uses 75% less energy, and changing colour from green to clear may be subtle to the public but enables that plastic to be used for a multitude of purposes and significantly increases its value.
“We’re also pleased to see design changes which give people extra nudges to do their bit to help drive up recycling. If we are to transform the way we use, make and dispose of plastic, then we all have a role to play.”