The new initiative uses Coca Cola’s new smart fountain dispensers – known as Coca-Cola Freestyle machines – to supply and replenish refillable containers. The micro-chipped containers available from the dispenser enable students and staff to buy all their soft drinks in reusable bottles.
This refill system will help people to reduce their own packaging footprint, said the company. Two weeks into the trial, 1,500 bottles have been sold sold far.
CCEP GB head of sustainability Nick Brown said: “As well as supporting a more sustainable packaging system on campus, the trial will allow us to explore consumer behaviours and attitudes towards refillable bottles, with the goal to help students and staff across the university to reduce their personal packaging footprint.”
‘Reduce their personal packaging footprint’
The refillable bottles, manufactured by Whirley-Drinks Works, can be purchased at the University and enable users access to refills throughout the 10-week term.
More than 100 drinks will be available from a range of well-known brands, including: Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke and Fanta. Selections available include low- and zero-calorie variants, caffeine free and still drinks.
Students will be able to try drinks and flavour variants within the business’s global portfolio that are not available in British stores. Also available are options for single pour and limited refills.
The bottles contain radio frequency identification to directly interact with Validfill dispensing technology. The technology ensures payment has been made and allows the company to track how many times the refillable bottle is used and which drinks are most popular.
CCEP and the University of Reading will be monitoring the impact the scheme on recycling and littering of soft drinks packaging.
Recyling and littering
The initiative is part of the university’s plan to cut its environmental impact, including carbon emissions by more than one third.
The university’s catering and bars manager Matt Tebbit said about 650,000 plastic bottled drinks were used on its campuses each year.
“So, this partnership will help the university to reduce this considerably,” said Tebbit. “The new drinks machines will cut traffic around campus and carbon emissions as refill cartridges can be delivered by courier rather than lorries.”
In addition to providing a wider range of low- and no-calorie drinks to students and staff, the smart dispensers will also offer free drinking water to everyone.