We’ve always been committed to reducing the environmental impact of our packaging and ensuring it can be recycled and reused again and again to make new packaging.

We have a goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can we sell worldwide by 2030.

Here in Great Britain, all of our cans and bottles can be recycled, but we know that in reality that doesn’t always happen. That’s why, in 2017, we launched our sustainable packaging strategy in Great Britain to improve the sustainability of all of our packaging and help more of it get collected and recycled.

Here’s what we’re doing:

1. We’re ensuring our packaging is as sustainable as possible

Creating sustainable packaging isn’t just about ensuring it can be recycled, but ensuring that it’s the most sustainable pack it can be by looking at the materials we use and how we use them. Increasing the amount of recycled materials we put into our packaging is an important part of that.

We’re the largest user of recycled plastic in the food and drink industry in Great Britain, and use around 10,000 tonnes of recycled plastic in our bottles every year. We source our recycled plastic from the world’s largest and most advanced plastic bottle reprocessing plant in Lincolnshire.

On average, all of our plastic bottles contain 25% recycled plastic – and we’re on track to get that to at least 50% across all of our brands in 2020.

Where we can, we’re going further. Glaceau smartwater bottles will be made by 100% recycled plastic starting from November 2019, for example. That move alone means the equivalent of 3,100 tonnes of recycled plastic, rather than new (or virgin plastic as its also referred) is being used each year.

Small changes can make a big difference, too; we’re changing Sprite bottles from green to clear so that it will be easier to turn the material back into new bottles, while our bottles are also now lighter than ever.

Since 2007, we’ve decreased the weight of our packaging by 27%, which has reduced the amount of natural resources and energy we use in manufacturing.

Looking for more on the future of our packaging? Here’s three stories you need to read

2. We’re using our brands to encourage people to recycle

We use our brands, advertising and partnerships to inspire and encourage people to recycle when they’ve enjoyed one of our drinks.

We’ve run advertising campaigns reminding people to recycle – including Love Story, Across the Tracks and #CokeDunks – and our Coca-Cola bottles have a ‘Please Recycle Me’ message to help spread awareness.

Return of the Reverse Vending Machines

Now it’s up to us to make sure that message is heard loud and clear, which is why we’re also working to reward people for doing the right thing. Our partnership with Merlin Entertainments, for example, has given people half price entry in exchange for recycling one of our bottles at our special reverse vending machines.

3. We’re championing new ways of recovering our packaging

Alongside promoting recycling, we’re focusing on finding new ways to recover packaging, so that more can be recycled than ever before. After all, the more we get back the more we can turn into new packaging again.

It’s why we’re supportive of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme here in Great Britain – for plastic bottles and cans – to ensure more packaging is recovered.

We work with a number of partners to explore new ways of recovering packaging and reducing litter. These partnerships include Hubbub, Keep Britain Tidy and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Ultimately, there’s no single quick-fix solution when it comes to increasing recovery and recycling rates, or for reducing litter. Instead, governments, businesses, NGOs and communities need to work together and take action in a number of areas.

For more on how helping people recycle more, check out one of these three stories:

Keen to stay up-to-date with all our GB sustainable packaging announcements? Head over to our sustainability homepage for all the updates in one place.