Coca-Cola: manufacturers will never win the battle of the biodegradeable bottle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling, Coca-cola enterprises

Despite manufacturers' best efforts to become greener, fully biodegradeable plastic bottles and zero carbon emissions from factories are unlikely to ever become a reality, according to the head of corporate social responsibility and sustainability at Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE).

Despite this issue, the company is making significant environmental advances, said Joe Franses at a meeting in London last month to outline CCE's progress in meeting its 2020 environmental targets.

It has cut its carbon emissions by 470,000t about a third of its 2020 target through innovations such as using borehole water to cool bottle blowers and high-pressure compressors more efficiently at its Sidcup plant. Franses said this has saved the company £186,000.

CCE also plans to launch a bottle made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) derived from plant-based sources later this year, said Patrick McGuirk, CCE recycling director. The firm also plans to increase the proportion of rPET used in each of its plastic bottles to 25% by next year.

CCE's ambitions to increase the recycled content of its plastic bottles is limited by the amount of rPET available and it needs to engage with consumers to educate them about recycling, said McGuirk. "Great Britain is the poor man of Europe when it comes to recycling,"​ he said.

Zero landfill waste

Overall, CCE is now recycling 99% of the factory waste it produces, with five out of six of its production sites sending zero waste to landfill, said CCE md Simon Baldry. The company has also reduced its water usage by 11.7% since 2007 and only uses 1.36 litres per litre produced, Baldry added.

Meanwhile, Nestlé has announced that its site in York is now sending zero waste to landfill, which saves the company £120,000. The news means that three out of Nestlé's 14 UK factories are now zero-waste certified, according to a company spokesman. Nestlé has also reduced water usage by 36% from 2006 levels through actions such as removing cooling towers and installing new washing systems at its Fawdon factory.

Related topics: Drinks

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