Highland Spring rolls out UK’s first 100% recycled water bottle

During a six-month trial of the bottle

After launching a 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottle for its 500ml still water lines last summer for a six-month pilot scheme, Highland Spring confirmed today (18 January) that the innovative packaging will become a permanent part of its offering.

Trials of the new packaging at Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores across England and Scotland determined that customers were not put off by the bottles’ slightly cloudier appearance and were prepared to pay up to 5p more for a 100% PCR bottle.  

The lightweight bottles, which the company calls “eco bottles”, carry labelling informing customers that they are both recycled and recyclable. The only non-recycled components of the bottle are the sleeve and cap, which are both recyclable within UK infrastructure.

“Plastic is a valuable resource that shouldn’t be treated as waste,” Highland Spring’s group head and chief executive Les Montgomery said.

“Increasing our use of recycled plastic is an absolute priority for Highland Spring and this is a hugely exciting step in our mission to provide healthy hydration choices in environmentally sustainable ways.”

Highland Spring sourced all of the PCR plastic used in the trial from within the UK and has pledged to continue to do so as the “eco-bottles” are rolled out.

Bottling it up

More than 480 billion single-use plastic drinking bottles made from mainly virgin plastic are sold globally each year, with the average bottle sold in the UK containing around 15% recycled content.

But with consumer demand for sustainable packaging having reached unprecedented highs over the past two years, the onus is now on beverage brands to develop alternatives.

Harrogate Water and the Co-op have approached the issue by launching bottles which contain 50% PCR plastic, which are both classed as recyclable and made using the UK’s plastic waste streams.

French firm Evian, meanwhile, is planning to replace all of its water bottles with 100% recycled alternatives by 2025. Announced last January as part of the firm’s bid to become a “100% circular” business, the move will also see Evian work with the waste management sector to deliver a zero plastic bottle waste ambition.

Other companies have taken a different approach, encouraging consumers to use refillable alternatives to single-use bottles. Pret A Manger, for example, recently launched a range of reusable aluminium bottles in its UK stores, while the likes of Costa Coffee and Leon last year began offering free tap water refills to customers under the Refill Me scheme.

edie recently launched the Mission Possible Plastics Hub – a brand-new content-driven campaign that will support sustainability and resource efficiency professionals on our collective mission to eliminate single-use plastics.

In addition to hosting content that supports businesses with their single-use plastics phase-outs, the Mission Possible Plastics Hub will be encouraging sustainability professionals to submit new commitments to tackle plastic pollution on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall.

If your company has an existing plastics commitment, or if you’re planning a new commitment over the coming months, you can showcase it on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall.


(By submitting a pledge, edie readers are agreeing to the commitment, target date and expected benefits being published on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall, along with their name and job title. They are also agreeing to being contacted by a member of the edie editorial team, should any further information about their pledge be required.)

Sarah George

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