The UK’s PET bottle recycling capacity will double thanks to an initiative between Coca-Cola Enterprises and recycler Eco Plastics.
The companies are to extend Eco Plastics’ plant in Hemswell, Lincolnshire, to allow a further 40,000 tonnes of PET to be processed into food-grade polymer every year. Currently the UK can recycle about 35,000t/year.
The plant will provide Coca-Cola with enough plastic to ensure 25% of its PET packaging is made from recycled material in 2012. Coca-Cola has signed a ten-year agreement guaranteeing a supply of recycled PET.
The company will pay £5m to help build the new plant and Eco Plastics will raise £10m.
Eco Plastics’ site is the largest plastic recycling facility in Europe capable of processing more than 100,000 tonnes of material a year, or about two billion PET and HDPE bottles. The company claims bottles made with its plastic are 68% less carbon intensive than those made with virgin materials.
Coca-Cola is a signatory to phase 2 of the Courtauld Commitment, which sets targets to cut the carbon footprint of packaging by the end of that year.
Environment department (DEFRA) waste minister Lord Henley said: “Coca-Cola and Eco Plastics’ efforts are an innovative blueprint for the future, and show how producers can take responsibility to step up to this challenge.”