Coca-Cola Great Britain will place onsite reverse vending machines – which enable automated collecting, sorting and handling of returned or used plastic bottles for recycling or reuse – at Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor in a bid to improve on-the-go recycling at the resorts.

In partnership with the resorts’ owner, Merlin Entertainments, Coca-Cola GB is offering 50% discount vouchers off entries to 30 Merlin-owned attractions. The vouchers equate to savings of around £27 when purchasing a Merlin attraction day pass – far higher than the original cost of the plastic bottle.

Coca-Cola European Partners’ vice president, Leendert den Hollander, said: “We want to reward people for doing the right thing by recycling their bottles and hope to encourage some people who wouldn’t otherwise have done so.

“Through this exciting new trial with Merlin Entertainments we hope to remind people how valuable their empty plastic bottle is. All of our bottles can be recycled, and we want to get as many of them back as possible, so they can be turned into new bottles and not end up as litter.”

The two companies will trial the system between 25 July and 19 October this year. Visitors to the attractions are able to recycle any 500ml plastic bottle onsite by using the reverse vending machines and will instantly receive a 50% discount voucher.

The trial is built on the findings by Coca-Cola Great Britain, which revealed that 64% of Brits would recycle more on the go if they were incentivised to do so.

Merlin Entertainments joins the likes of Morrisons, Iceland and Download, Latitude and Reading and Leeds festivals in hosting reverse vending machines.

Merlin Entertainments’ head of force for good, Sandra Hazel, said: “This partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain demonstrates our shared ambition to use our brands for good. We’re constantly looking for ways to raise awareness and help contribute to a better environment.

“As a responsible business and an advocate for marine conservation, we’re pleased to be joining forces with Coca-Cola Great Britain to encourage people to recycle more this summer, by rewarding them with family fun.”

Full bottle

Despite the likes of Greenpeace taking aim at Coca-Cola over its packaging volumes, it has been a year of substantial progress for the bottlers. Coca-Cola European Partners last year committed to ensuring that all of its bottles contained at least 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic by 2020 and all of the firm’s plastic bottles are 100% recyclable.

The company also launched a multi-million-pound consumer awareness campaign that has reached 27 million consumers to inform them of the recyclability of plastic bottles. The branding on bottle closures is also to be replaced with messages encouraging consumers to recycle – creating more than 900 million opportunities to see these new recycling messages each year.

In an exclusive interview with edie last week, Coca-Cola European Partners’ head of sustainability Nick Brown claimed that the next 12 months were a “great opportunity” to develop a nationwide blueprint for deposit return schemes for plastics.

Matt Mace

Comments (2)

  1. Peter Worrall says:

    when I was young I knew my local Pub well -because we got a deposit paid to us for bringing GLASS Coke bottles back for re use -what’s wrong with glass and deposits -its worked in the past and it isn’t plastic!!

  2. Roger Munford says:

    Although in the right direction this is little more than a gimmick. Coca Cola (as part of the drinks system) has for decades been taken back bottles for REAL MONEY and from EVERY place it is sold in Germany and other European Companies.
    I appreciate the UK government has been and is pretty useless but just get on with it. You dont need trials we all know it works. Coca Cola is treading water until proper legislation arrives.
    I picked up 4 coca cola bottles on a beach yesterday. If the bottles were worth 10p they would not have been there for long.
    With a name like "Leendert den Hollander" I am sure he knows what to do with his bottles when he goes home.

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