Britvic to switch to 100% recycled plastic bottles by 2022

Britvic owns some of the UK's most recognisable soft drinks brands

Britvic had previously committed to achieving an average of 50% recycled content in PET bottles sold in Great Britain by the end of 2025, but has today (20 October) raised its ambitions after switching to 100% recycled PET for Fruit Shoot Hydro and Ballygowan 500ml last month. The new goal applies to its own brands and the PepsiCo-owned brands it sells in the UK and Ireland, including 7UP and Lipton Iced Tea.

In a drive to reach the new target, Britvic has signed a long-term agreement to source material from the UK’s largest recycler of post-consumer PET, Esterform Packaging. It provided an investment support package of £5m to the firm to support the construction of a new recycled PET manufacturing plant in North Yorkshire. Britvic has also backed BP Infinia, an innovative technology that enables low-value or hard-to-recycle PET to be recycled chemically. The process depolymerises PET, breaking it down into monomers that can be purified ready for reuse.

Britvic’s wider plastics strategy is rooted in the requirements of WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact, of which it is a founding signatory. The company’s latest sustainability report states that all primary packaging is easy to recycle and that it has removed more than 1,500 tonnes of primary plastic packaging from supply chains and products over the past three years.

Recently, the business has submitted recommendations to the UK Government under its consultations on the Resources and Waste Strategy.

Britvic’s director of sustainable business Sarah Webster said: “Accelerating this move to 100% rPET is the right next step for Britvic to help reduce our impact on the planet.

“Meaningful change cannot be achieved by business alone, however, it requires a suite of solutions, which is why we support the swift introduction of a well-designed GB-wide deposit return scheme, and reform of the current producer responsibility system, to create the required investment in UK recycling infrastructure.”

Progress on plastics

The announcement from Britvic comes after the company signed for a £400m loan with sustainability-linked margins earlier this year.  As well as plastics progress, the loan takes KPIs around decarbonisation, energy and nutrition into account.

In the policy space, many key pieces of legislation with environmental repercussions have faced delays due to Covid-19, including the Energy White Paper, Environment Bill and Resources and Waste Strategy.

August saw a group of MPs submit an Early Day Motion calling for the introduction of an all-in deposit return system covering plastic bottles, glass bottles, aluminium cans, cartons, paper-based coffee cups and pouches.

Defra has confirmed that it will open the second round of consultations on the system, and the Strategy’s broader provisions on plastics, in 2021. Green groups had already been warning that the Government’s timeline for introducing the Strategy was too slow pre-pandemic.

Sarah George

Comments (1)

  1. Karen La Borde says:

    I will say this again – bottles made from recycled plastic escape into the environment just as virgin plastic bottles do. Its not the type of plastic that matters, its NO plastic which makes the difference. I will certainly not be buying from Britvic and will ensure friends and family are aware of this too.

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