Packaging and recycling
Packaging plays a vital role in delivering our beverages safely to customers and consumers. Once the beverage inside has been consumed, however, the package can become either valuable material for recycling or recovery in heat capture incineration plants – or waste, ending up in landfill.
We are working to reduce the environmental impacts of our packaging at every stage of its lifecycle. Our integrated approach includes:
• Reducing the amount of packaging we use
• Increasing recycled content
• Promoting recycling and recovery
Ultimately, we aim to close the recycling loop: turning used packaging into new containers. The bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Austria that Coca-Cola Hellenic helped set up, for example, now provides the Company with a high-quality and cost-effective supply of recycled material to make into new bottles.
Coca-Cola HBC works with Repak to fund packaging recycling in Ireland. As Ireland’s first voluntary initiative between industry and the Department of the Environment, Repak, works with industry to meet their producer responsibility obligations under the EU directive on packaging waste. In Northern Ireland, we partner with Wastepack to maintain our compliance with the relevant packaging regulations.
In addition to minimising waste from our beverage packaging, we are also reducing production waste from our bottling plants.
Minimising the amount of packaging we use is one of the most significant ways that we can reduce its environmental impact. In addition to using less material, this helps to reduce the carbon footprint of packaging throughout its lifecycle: from manufacture to transportation to disposal or recycling.
Merchandising units for 2 litre bottles in supermarkets are produced at the Knockmore Hill plant to increase merchandising efficiency and also reduce shrink wrap used in packaging as the product is stacked on reusable trays.
Increasing recycled content
Our beverage containers consist mostly of recyclable materials: PET plastic, aluminium, steel and glass. Since these are among the most widely recycled packaging materials, another way we can reduce the impact of our packaging is to increase the recycled content in them. By using recycled aluminium in cans, for example, we save up to 95% of the energy required when using virgin aluminium.
Our aluminium cans and glass bottles already contain up to 60% recycled content. Including recycled PET plastic in our bottles presents a challenge in terms of availability and cost. Although PET is widely recycled, it is cheaper and easier to channel it into carpet and clothing industries, which need not meet the high quality standards required of food containers.
Our business uses up to 15% recycled PET in seven countries. In Ireland and Northern Ireland we are tackling the challenges involved in using recycled PET.
We help set up recycling infrastructure and encourage consumers to recycle their beverage packaging.
We took the lead in working with Repak to establish recovery systems to collect, recover and recycle beverage containers on behalf of our industry. Repak manages a payment scheme for all registered service providers such as waste management companies and Local Authorities that own and control their services to collect and recycle packaging waste.
To date, the Company has helped set up systems in 19 countries, co-owning 17 recycling and recovery organisations.
Reducing production waste
In addition to minimising waste from our beverage containers in the marketplace, we are increasing recycling and minimising waste in our own bottling plants.
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