Coca-Cola Seeks Greater Home Recycling Rates Through Study

coke can recycling

Soft drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has announced that it is to begin a study into household recycling in a bid to lessen the amount of waste heading to landfill. It will look specifically into the psychology of recycling in the home in conjunction with the University of Exeter.

The project will observe families and the behaviour and interaction between different members when it comes to recycling. The uses of both landfill and recycling bins will be examined over the course of a year to try and address the 50% or so of Coke bottles that don’t make it into recycling streams when consumed within the home.

The UK and France will be the primary targets for the project as this is where 80% of the non-recycled bottles are coming from across Western Europe. As recycling director Patrick McGuirk put it:

Most of these lost packs are being disposed at home in the kitchen. People say they are recycling them, but clearly not everybody is. We have to fundamentally reshape how people recycle in their own homes,

Heading up the study will be Dr Stewart Barr of the University of Exeter and it is his belief that recycling needs to be framed in ways other than those related to climate change as these can be real turn-offs for the public:

We perhaps need to get away from the environmental argument, it can be counterproductive [...] climate change is still a very contested issue within the public mindset…

Our approach will be to work intensively with households to understand how recycling and waste behaviours have developed and how the dynamics within family units influence such everyday practices. In this way, we will work alongside households to co-create strategies to embed sustainable recycling patterns in the future.

The study was announced alongside new investment by Coca-Cola into a joint venture with French recycler APPE which will boost the capacity at its current plastics reprocessing centre by 70% meaning a further 20,000 tonnes will be recycled into food-grade packaging each year.

Both initiatives are part of CCE’s commitment to be a trailblazer in sustainable packaging which aims to achieve zero waste in its own operations while recycling more packaging than it itself uses.

Green Steve’s Reaction

I’m actually not surprised that a company like Coca Cola is heading up this kind of project; it makes sense for them to create a closed loop system that guarantees them a supply of packaging material into the future whatever happens to the cost of virgin plastic which relies largely on oil prices.

To combat the environmental impact of its drinks further, I believe it should be investing in refill stations much like you see in restaurants these days. This would prevent the need for new bottles entirely. I don’t see why these could not be implemented in supermarkets if there really is a desire to become a zero waste business.

Click the following link to learn more about the carbon footprint of drinks.

Steve (156 Posts)

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