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Coca-Cola and Eco Plastics to more than double plastic bottle recycling with £15m joint venture

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and plastic bottle recycler Eco Plastics have announced a £15m joint venture which will double the amount of PET bottles recycled in the UK each year.

CCE will invest £5m in developing a purpose-built recycling facility on Eco Plastics’ current site in Hemswell, Lincolnshire. Eco Plastics has raised an additional £10m for the project.

The 10-year joint venture deal is a first for the British drinks manufacturing industry. It will guarantee an annual supply of recycled PET (rPET) to CCE, ensuring that the company meets its target of including 25% rPET in all its plastic packaging by 2012.

The new facility will mean the UK will recycle more than 75,000 tonnes of PET bottles each year – more than double the 35,000 tonnes recycled in 2010.

CCE Great Britain managing director Simon Baldry said: “CCE is committed to transforming recycling in Great Britain.  Our investment in this project with ECO Plastics will start to address the recycling challenges in this country.  British PET bottles will be recycled for re-use in packaging that will be sold from the shelves of British retailers.

“The amount of high-quality rPET will more than double. At the same time, we are working with our customers to encourage them to recycle more as part of our wider sustainability efforts.”

It is expected that the plant will be operational next year, creating 30 jobs.

ECO Plastics managing director Jonathan Short added: “Demand for sustainable packaging in the UK has gathered pace in recent years, while the UK supply of recycled plastics has grown significantly. CCE has recognised these trends and has taken positive action that will help accelerate UK plastics recycling. This is the low-carbon economy in practice.

“Having recently re-opened Europe’s largest and most technically advanced plastics recycling facility and chosen a new name for a new chapter in our growth, we are thrilled to further expand operations through this joint venture.”

Defra waste minister Lord Henley called the agreement an “innovative blueprint for the future”.

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