Home Food and Beverage Coca-Cola to increase the amount of recycled plastic

Coca-Cola to increase the amount of recycled plastic

Coca-Cola. Image: George Frey/Getty Images

Coca-Cola to increase amount of recycled plastic in its bottles

Great move to improve targets and increase support for recycling comes amid pressure from environmentalists

Coca-Cola is to increase the amount of recycled plastic in its bottles to 50% amid pressure from environmentalists over runaway use of the containers.

The world’s biggest drinks brand says it will hit its new UK recycling target – up from a previous goal of 40% – by 2020.

The company described the proposal as ambitious but environmentalists said they did not go far enough.

John Sauven, head of Greenpeace UK, said smaller drinks companies were already going much further. “Other companies are already at 50% and are aiming to be at 100% by 2020. Coca Cola is huge in scale and this is not an ambitious target.”

Coca-Cola’s UK and Europe arm currently has a target to increase the amount of recycled plastic or RPET in its bottles to 40% by 2020.

It has already performed a U-turn over bottle deposit schemes following pressure from Greenpeace. In evidence to MPs before the UK election was called, the company said it now supported a deposit scheme. It had previously said it was opposed to such an idea.

Figures obtained by the Guardian this month revealed that across the globe one million plastic bottles are bought by consumers every minute – roughly 20,000 a second.

The number will jump another 20% by 2021, with annual sales rising to more than half a trillion a year, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.

More than 480bn plastic drinking bottles were sold across the world in 2016, up from about 300bn a decade ago. By 2021 this will increase to 583.3bn, according to the most up-to-date estimates from Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report.

Coca-Cola said it would hit its 50% target by investing millions of pounds in “Europe’s largest and most advanced plastic bottle recycling facility” based in Lincolnshire.