Coca-Cola Great Britain is initiating a trial of what it describes as a “well-designed” deposit return scheme (DRS) in Scotland. The plan builds upon over twenty years of work by the beverage company on recycled and renewable packaging material.
The trial program is launching in Scotland because “the conversation is already under way,” according to the company.
Consumer research finds that 63% of those surveyed support the introduction of a DRS in the UK, and 51% say they’d be more likely to recycle as a result.
The DRS is part of the company’s review of its sustainable packaging strategy, with a goal of developing a circular economy.
According to a company spokesperson, “We’ve made significant progress to improve the sustainability of our packaging in recent years. For instance, all our bottles and cans are 100% recyclable. We’ve also reduced the amount of material we use, making our packs as light as possible and we are committed to increasing the amount of recycled and renewable material in our plastic bottles from 25% to 40% by 2020.
“We believe that we can go further. That’s why we have embarked on a major review of our sustainable packaging strategy to understand what role we can play in unlocking the full potential of a circular economy in Great Britain. Since the start of the year, we have been consulting with expert organisations, NGOs and policymakers. We are focused on our packaging, the role of our brands and the ways we can collaborate with others to improve recycling rates and reduce litter.
“Our sustainable packaging review is ongoing, but it’s already clear from our conversations with experts that the time is right to trial new interventions such as a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers, starting in Scotland where conversations are underway.
“We’ve also been talking to and listening to our consumers and know two thirds (63%) of them support the introduction of a deposit return system in the UK, and half (51%) say they’d be more likely to recycle as a result. From our experience elsewhere in Europe, we know that deposit schemes can work if they are developed as part of an overall strategy on the circular economy, in collaboration with all industry stakeholders. We are open to exploring any well-thought-through initiative that has the potential to increase recycling and reduce litter.
“We expect to publish the results of the review and our new sustainable packaging strategy in the summer and remain fully committed to finding new ways to minimise the materials we use; reduce waste; and work with others to improve recycling rates across Great Britain.”