Ethical Performance
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Coca Cola Enterprises looks to transform at-home recycling habits

Given that it is responsible for the production and distribution of over 2bn litres of soft drinks a year (and that’s just in the UK), it’s no wonder that Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) has announced that it is taking a closer look at at-home recycling.

Joe Franses, director of CR & sustainability, CCE, told Ethical Performance that a major part of CCE’s sustainability strategy is about being a low carbon business. “We know that our packaging plays a big part in that. In fact 48% of our carbon impact sits in our packaging - not in our trucks, our refrigeration or our factories,” he explained.

CCE is teaming with the University of Exeter, which boasts a successful track record in work around consumer behaviour, to look at the politics of recycling at home. The study will seek to understand why recycling rates are so low, despite people expressing strong beliefs towards environmental behaviours.

University researchers will observe 10 households in both Great Britain and France over a six-month period to explore the dynamics that drive waste disposal and recycling in the home.

Research shows that 75% of French and 76% of British consumers claim to “always” recycle plastic bottles at home, and over 63% across both countries view recycling as “a moral and environmental duty.” However, actual at-home recycling rates do not reflect these intentions with only half of all plastic bottles currently collected for recycling, revealing a significant ‘value/action gap.’ Improving these recycling rates will enable manufacturers to boost sources of locally-available high-quality recycled PET and reduce their resource footprint.

“Currently in the UK and France we know that 50% of our bottles and cans are recycled. But that means 50% aren’t,” said Franses. We want to find out who are the champions of recycling in the home and if on-pack information helps. 30% of people don’t believe that what they put out for recycling is actually recycled.”

CCE hopes to report back in October and results shared with local authorities, NGOs and other businesses which are trying to influence environmental behaviours.

Coca-Cola | Global | Recycling

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