Buzzwords explained: Recycling

Recycling is a part of everyday life in the UK. Here’s how recycled material can benefit the environment and how Coca-Cola Great Britain is committed to encouraging more people to recycle…

What is recycling?
A process that involves treating or processing used materials so they are safe to be reused. Most local authorities around the UK have a well-established household recycling system. This is a great way to collect packaging materials such as cardboard, glass, plastic, paper and aluminium – all of which can be recycled and reused in new packaging or made into other items.

Recycled material has a much lower carbon footprint, and recycled plastic uses around two thirds less energy than new plastic to make.

Learn more about recycling in the UK from Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners

How much recycled material does Coca-Cola Great Britain use?
On average, our aluminium cans contain around 49% recycled aluminium, our plastic bottles contain around 25% recycled plastic, and there’s approximately 56% recycled glass in our glass bottles. But that’s just where we are now.

We want to double the amount of recycled plastic in all our bottles from 25% to 50% by 2020. This will make us the largest user of recycled plastic in the UK food and drink industry.

Over the past five years, we’ve used around 10,000 tonnes of recycled plastic for our drinks packaging in Great Britain. Based on that amount, by the time we reach our goal of 50% recycled plastic by 2020, we’ll be using 20,000 tonnes of recycled plastic per year – that’s about the same as one million bottles.

Find out more about our latest campaign: Love Story

The latest recycling technology
Our new long-term target of using 50% recycled plastic in our bottles is based on our partnership with company CleanTech, which operates the UK’s largest and most advanced plastic bottle reprocessing facility in Lincolnshire.

We’ve invested heavily in this facility to double Great Britain’s production of recycled plastic. All the recycled plastic we use is also sourced from within the UK – even though currently it’s less cost effective than buying new material.