As you may have read, we recently reported that globally we used 3 million tonnes of plastic to package our drinks in 2017. This figure was included as part of a report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

We decided to sign up to the Commitment as part of our overall World Without Waste strategy.  We did so because we’re serious about doing business the right way and ensuring that all of our packaging is recycled and none of it ends up in the oceans or as litter.

3 million. It’s a big number. But it’s not one we’re hiding behind.

The number reflects the amount of plastic we use across the 500 brands of drinks that we make and sell in more than 200 countries around the world. We are proud to be able to refresh millions of people every day and plastic packaging, as you might expect, is an important part of the picture when it comes to ensuring these drinks can be enjoyed. It’s light, flexible and unbreakable, it can be resealed and it has the lowest carbon footprint of all our packaging formats.

But what happens to the packaging after our drinks have been consumed matters to us just as much.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

The Commitment has called on 150 companies from every part of the plastics industry to be more open and honest about their use of plastic.  Of the 150, we are one of 31 companies to have shared details of our global plastic usage.

Companies are not required to publish this information, which is why the move has been welcomed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation: “We applaud the companies that are publishing this data and encourage all companies that make and use plastics to disclose their plastics footprint.”

While there’s lots of debate and discussion around the role of plastic now, and it’s a conversation we welcome and are part of, plastic bottles remain an important part of the packaging we use. They provide people with a convenient way to enjoy our drinks and that those drinks reach them in excellent condition. And like all the packaging we use, including glass bottles and aluminium cans, every one of our plastic bottles is 100% recyclable.  

We’ve got big goals for 2019 and beyond 

As part of our World Without Waste strategy we are focusing more time and money on getting more of our bottles back.  If we do that, they can be recycled to be used in new bottles again and again.  In Great Britain, we currently use 25% recycled plastic in our bottles and we’re working to get that to 50% by the end of 2020. To do that we need more bottles to be recovered and recycled, which is one of the reasons why we are supportive of a well-designed DRS being established across the U.K. 

To make progress, we believe it is important to be more transparent about the amount and type of packaging we use for our drinks. This might make for uncomfortable headlines and large numbers, but we believe it’s a necessary step to working in partnership with others to make improvements and achieve a world without waste.

You can find out more about our sustainability efforts here