Coca-Cola calls for extended producer responsibility on drinks packaging
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is calling for a responsibility deal within the soft drinks industry to encourage greater recyclability of packaging materials.
The company's GB commercial recycling manager Nick Brown told delegates at the Sustainability Leaders Forum yesterday (November 3) that such a deal would make recycling much more effective, and would build on the current packaging waste recovery notes (PRN) system.
He added: "We think the PRN system is still a great tool for encouraging people to use recycled material and for supporting collection systems and reprocessing systems to make the most of that valuable resource."
Brown told delegates that CCE had promoted some recycling road shows with ASDA in its stores and said that it was vital that consumers saw the merits of recycling. "We need to reassure householders and consumers that when they do the right thing, the system is in place to make the best environmental use of what they've done."
He added that one of the main reasons why consumers did not recycle all of the time was because they didn't know what happened to the material.
"They need to know that the material can be recycled, is collected and they need to understand the benefit of it, which means that every time there is a story about boat loads of mixed plastics being exported to China that's probably a few more that won't have recycled as much."
Brown went on to say that CCE was working in a number of public policy areas and was keen to champion improvements in local authority collection schemes. But, he added, the waste industry needed to do more to engage with local authorities and cited the LARAC conference last month where he said CCE was the only branded manufacturer in attendance.
"I see it as disappointing that lots of other people that want to talk about resource management weren't at the meetings where local authorities are talking about the issues; why they are collecting what they are and why they are doing it the way they are," he said.
"Unless you understand the challenges that are going on at local authority level, you can't really offer any kind of support or help."
CCE has set up a joint venture with Eco Plastics - Continuum Recycling - to build a bottle-to-bottle plastics reprocessing plant to capture more PET. The facility, which opens next May, will more than double the amount of food grade material produced in Britain and will save about 33,000 tonnes of carbon a year.