Princes commits to make bottles with 50% recycled plastic

Consumer goods giant Princes has pledged to increase the proportion of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in its plastic soft drink and oil bottles to more than 50% within four months, as part of an ongoing goal of using 100% PCR plastic in all its packaging.

The owner of Aqua Pura, Napolina and Crisp ‘n Dry will start manufacturing its bottles with 51% recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (RPET) this month (May) and expects to have transitioned all its branded and own-label products to at least 50% PCR by the end of September.

The company produces around 7% of the plastic bottles used in the UK annually – around 900 million a year. Its bottles are already 100% recyclable and its soft drink bottles were made with 25% PCR as of 2015, but Princes corporate relations director David McDiarmid said the move to increase PCR content is a further “significant step” for the firm.

“We want to increase the recycled content of all the plastic we use and have been working for some time to implement 51 percent RPET, as it’s by far our biggest area of plastic usage,” McDiarmid said. “This is a significant step for not only ourselves, but the wider grocery industry too as we will reach millions of households through our supply of brands and customer own brand soft drinks and oils.”

McDiarmid added that he wanted to commit to 100% recycled plastic in all its packaging “as soon as we can”, noting that Princes is sourcing its PCR from a UK supplier.

Turning waste streams into resources

Following the publication of a damning report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which claimed that 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120bn annually, is lost to the economy, several big-name brands have made moves to incorporate more PCR in their packaging.

Ecover last year unveiled a washing-up liquid bottle made from 50% ocean plastic and this month launched a 100% PCR plastic bottle for its core washing-up liquid range as part of its vision to use 100% recycled plastic in all bottles by 2020.

The Procter & Gamble (P&G) Company has taken similar steps by moving to house its iconic Fairy washing-up liquid in bottles made completely from PCR plastic and repurposed ocean plastic. Its Head and Shoulders shampoo and conditioner range is similarly packaged in 25% PCR plastic bottles as the chain strives to reach a 2020 goal to double the amount of recycled material used in packaging – something it has been doing on a smaller scale for more than 25 years.

Sarah George

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