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Coca-Cola Enterprises to Invest in PET Recycling Plant, Recycling Research

Coca-Cola Enterprises, which produces, markets and distributes Coca-Cola products in Western Europe, is investing 6.5 million euros ($8.4 million) in a PET recycling facility and introducing research aimed at influencing consumer recycling behavior.

CCE is establishing a new joint venture in France with PET recycler APPE to boost the capacity of its plastics reprocessing facility by 70 percent. The venture will invest in a new line at APPE’s existing recycling facility in Beaune, France and fund the trial and introduction of new technology. Once the upgrades are complete, the plant should recycle 20,000 additional tons of plastic into food-grade packaging per year, CCE says.

The company is also funding a unique research partnership to explore how strategies aimed at changing consumer consumer behavior can improve at-home recycling rates in Great Britain and France, and increase the number of bottles entering the recycling stream.

Recycling rates in the two countries remain below most other European countries, despite growing awareness of environmental concerns among consumers.  While consumers express strong beliefs related to recycling, at-home recycling rates do not reflect their intent. Some 79 percent of consumers polled at the 2012 Olympics Games claimed to always recycle plastic bottles at home, but only approximately half of plastic bottles are collected for recycling in the UK; as a result, manufacturers face restrictions in the supply of locally available recycled PET, CCE says.
The research program announced today will seek to define interventions which can overcome this gap between belief and behavior.  It will be delivered in partnership with the University of Exeter and will be based upon in-depth, ethnographic research with households in Great Britain and France over a ten-month period.
The project will work alongside households to co-create strategies aimed at embedding sustainable recycling patterns in the future.  This project hopes to provide valuable knowledge for a wide range of businesses seeking to influence environmental behaviors, as well as government and NGOs.
CCE is aiming to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable by 2014. For the past three years 99 percent of its packaging has been recyclable, according to the company’s latest sustainability report.
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