LRS has been using 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics to house its Ribena lines since 2008 – a move which has prevented the production of more than 40,000 tonnes of virgin plastic packaging. According to LRS, this is the weigh equivalent of around 30,000 Ford Fiestas.

In a move to reduce its plastic output further, the company this year trialled a new light weighted version of its bestselling product – 500ml Ribena bottles.

Following the success of the trial, LRS announced on Monday (17 December) that it will roll the new bottles out across its 500ml range of Ribena drinks in January 2019. This will mitigate the use of around 325 tonnes of plastic annually, according to LRS.

“We all have a role to play in reducing, reusing and recycling plastic, and LRS is on a mission to be as sustainable a business as possible,” LRS’s director of sustainability and external affairs Michelle Norman said.

“We are extremely proud that we’ve been reusing 100% recycled plastic in our bottles for a decade and we are committed to continued innovation.”

The last straw

In addition to the light weighted Ribena bottles, LRS has unveiled plans to launch a consumer behaviour change scheme in a bid to boost recycling rates for its Ribena cartons and accompanying straws.

Developed in partnership with environmental charity Hubbub, the anti-litter scheme uses videos and other content – shared via the company’s YouTube, Instagram and Twitter channels – to encourage customers to push their straws into their cartons before placing the packaging in a recycling bin.

In one of the videos, Hubbub vlogger Sarah Divall gives subscribers a tour of LRS’s Gloucestershire factory, showing them how the company makes its packaging.

The launch of the scheme comes at a time when just 10% of the two billion cartons purchased in the UK every year are believed to be recycled.

However, the latest ACE UK figures indicate that the kerbside collection of beverage cartons for recycling has seen a 16-fold increase across local authorities in the past decade, with 92% of UK local authorities now collecting cartons for recycling. 

Plastics action

The moves from LRS come after the company signed WRAP’s UK Plastic Pact, committing it to make unnecessary single-use plastic packaging “a thing of the past” by 2025. 

As part of the Pact, the company has joined the likes of Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever in aiming to effectively recycle or compost 70% of its plastic packaging and introduce a 30% average of recycled content into its plastic packaging ranges.  

However, the immediate focus of the Pact is to identify innovative packaging projects which improve reusability, recyclability or compostability. To that end, the company recently trialled edible drinks sachets made from seaweed at two sports events, in an effort to gauge the consumer appetite for plastic-free alternatives to single-use bottles and pouches.

WRAP’s director, Peter Maddox, welcomed this week’s announcements from LRS, praising them as evidence of the firm’s “continued innovation” around packaging sustainability. 

Sarah George

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