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5 organisations leading the fight against plastic this Recycle Week

5 October 2020

This year’s theme for the 17th annual Recycle Week will thank the UK for continuing to recycle despite challenges presented by the global pandemic.

This week, under the banner Together – Re Recycle, we have seen an incredible effort from organisations across the world showing the progress made in tackling the plastic crisis.

Here are 5 of our favourites.

Coca-Cola announces all plastic bottles across its core brands are now made with 50% recycled plastic

This week, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), in partnership with Coca-Cola Great announced that all plastic bottles across its core brands made in Great Britain are now made with 50% recycled plastic (rPET).

The move means that the company is now using over 21,000 tonnes of recycled plastic per year in the UK, it says.

With this change, Coca-Cola says it has increased its rPET usage by a further 25%, “marking a major step on the journey towards the company’s ambition to help create more sustainable packaging options”.

To communicate such progress and the increase in recycled material, bottles will now carry new labels to let consumers know of the change and to encourage further recycling.

Stephen Moorhouse, general manager at Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain, said: “This milestone marks an important step towards our ambition across Western Europe to remove all non-recycled plastic from our bottles.

“One of the key challenges the industry currently faces is that there isn’t enough food-grade recycled plastic locally available in the UK to switch to 100% rPET across our entire range. There needs to be more high-quality recycled plastic produced, so it’s vital to make sure we efficiently collect more bottles and stop it ending up as waste.”

Scottish Government announces £70 million in green funding

This week, the Scottish Government announced a “major investment” of £70 million, which will go towards improving the infrastructure surrounding waste and recycling.

According to the government, this will include funding towards Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said that green economic growth after coronavirus is “at the heart” of the recently announced Programme for Government.

“I would encourage people and communities to get involved with this year’s Recycle Week. By working together, we can all do our bit to improve the environment, help fight climate change and enable Scotland to meet its net-zero target by 2045.

“Long-term initiatives to tackle our throwaway culture and encourage a circular economy – helping people to reduce, reuse and recycle – are vital to our green recovery and ensuring we end Scotland’s contribution to climate change completely.”

evian reaches new milestone in its circularity journey

evian natural mineral water has reached an additional milestone in its circularity journey, with the introduction of new bottles made from 100% recycled plastic.

evian bottles are already 100% recyclable, but now its most popular UK bottles are also made from 100% recycled plastic. When plastic is recycled and turned into a new bottle, it reduces carbon emissions in production by up to 50%¹ compared to bottles made from virgin plastic.

Commenting on the announcement, Shweta Harit, vice president of marketing at evian said: “This is an important milestone on our sustainability journey. Despite the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, we are determined to become part of a solution to tackle environmental issues on a global scale.”

Ribena adopts Transcend Packaging’s innovative paper U-bend straw

Ribena will be the first UK juice drink brand to introduce sustainable straws to its drinks cartons.

With single-use plastic straws thought to account for 4% of all plastic waste globally and 2,000 tonnes of plastic straws believed to end up in the world’s oceans every year, the new paper straws can make a meaningful contribution toward reducing plastic waste.

Available to be adopted immediately by drinks companies and bottlers, Transcend believes its paper U-bend straw is a major step in replacing some of the millions of plastic straws being used in the UK daily.

Lorenzo Angelucci, chief executive at Transcend Packaging said: “Anyone who has ever had a carton drink will instantly recognise the bendable plastic straws on the side of juice boxes found in supermarkets, cafes and packed lunch boxes across the country. The problem is these straws are used just once but then the plastic remains, as the straws are not often recycled”. 

SUEZ launches a new suite of free educational resources to mark recycle week

Meanwhile, waste management company SUEZ recycling and recovery have launched a new suite of educational materials for both primary and secondary students to promote the values of reducing, reusing and recycling among young people.

The resources will also promote STEM careers and how studying STEM subjects can support pupils’ career choices.

Natalie Chard, Senior Community Liaison Manager for SUEZ, and former teacher who helped develop the resources said: “With less time available to teachers to plan lessons due to social distancing measures and with school trips unlikely to go ahead this year, we saw an opportunity to bring our knowledge and skills to the classroom during this period when students are unable to visit us on trips or for work experience and schools will find it difficult to undertake outreach work, which is particularly important for STEM-based subjects. We hope the resources will promote a love of STEM learning and foster environmental awareness in students around the country.”