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28 February 2017

Coca-Cola supports new bottle deposit return scheme

Coca-Cola has announced its support for a deposit return scheme for drink bottles and cans in Scotland, in an attempt to reduce plastic waste. 

According to Recycle Now – the national recycling campaign for England – UK households use an average of 480 plastic bottles annually, but recycle just 270 of them; meaning that of the 35 million plastic bottles being used every day, about 16 million are not recycled.

The deposit return scheme encourages consumers to return used bottles in exchange for a small refundable sum.

Such schemes are already in place in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and have shown to increase collection rates, according to environment campaigners.

The fizzy drink manufacturing giant previously opposed the idea, believing that it would have a negative effect on business.

However, in a major U-turn for the company, Coca-Cola UK announced it is now supporting the DRS scheme in Scotland at an event in Edinburgh last week.

Coca-Cola UK sent a statement to the Independent that read: “We have embarked on a major review of our sustainable packaging strategy to understand what role we can play in unlocking the full potential of a circular economy in Great Britain.”

It went on to say: “Our sustainable packaging review is ongoing, but it’s already clear from our conversations with experts that the time is right to trial new interventions such as a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers, starting in Scotland where conversations are underway”.

The company has asserted that it remains fully committed to pursuing more sustainable packaging, including minimising the materials it uses, reducing waste and collaborating with other stakeholders to improve recycling rates across Britain.

Other manufacturers such as Unilever, Pepsi and Nestlé have already committed to using more eco-friendly bottles, through the use of less plastic or plant-based materials.

Earlier this month, Costa Coffee launched its new coffee cup recycling scheme in over 2,000 stores across the UK, committing to recycle any cup deposited by customers.

It is hoped that Coca-Cola’s announcement will encourage more companies to adopt similar schemes.

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