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Coke JV to Double PET Bottle Recycling in Great Britain

Coca-Cola Enterprises and ECO Plastics have formed a joint venture to develop a facility that the companies say will more than double the amount of PET bottles recycled in Great Britain.

The Lincolnshire facility will raise the amount of PET bottles recycled from 35,000 tons last year to more than 75,000 tons when the plant is fully operational next year. Coca-Cola is making a £5 million equity investment to support construction, while ECO Plastics is raising an additional £10 million to complete funding for the project.

The move will supply Coca-Cola with enough material to meet its target of including 25 percent recycled PET in all its plastic packaging in Great Britain by 2012.

“CCE is committed to transforming recycling in Great Britain. Our investment in this project with ECO Plastics will start to address the recycling challenges in this country,” Coca-Cola Enterprises GB managing director Simon Baldry said. “British PET bottles will be recycled for re-use in packaging that will be sold from the shelves of British retailers.

“At the same time, we are working with our customers to encourage shoppers to recycle more as part of our wider sustainability efforts,” Baldry added.

Environment minister Lord Henley said, “Coca-Cola and ECO Plastics’ efforts are an innovative blueprint for the future, and show how producers can take responsibility to step up to this challenge.”

The ten-year venture deal guarantees an annual supply of recycled PET to Coca-Cola, the company said.  Coke said it currently sources its recycled PET from continental Europe, while around two-thirds of plastic packaging used in Great Britain is exported for reprocessing.

ECO Plastics’ existing facility is already the largest in Europe, capable of processing more than 100,000 tonnes of waste plastic or 2 billion bottles a year, the company said. Independent research shows that products made with recycled plastic from the ECO Plastics site are 68% less carbon-intensive than packaging made with virgin materials, ECO Plastics said.

In 2009 Coca-Cola launched the PlantBottlewhich comprises up to 30 percent Brazilian sugarcane, and last month Heinz started adopting the bottle for its ketchupThe Coke PlantBottle is currently available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Japan, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and the company plans to expand it to over a dozen new markets in 2011. It aims to replace all its plastic packaging with PlantBottles by 2020.

A recent report in the U.S. showed that the amount of post-consumer non-bottle rigid plastic recovered for recycling increased by a third between 2008 and 2009.

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