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Opportunity to boost recycling performance through digital

Initiatives by Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) to use innovative engagement techniques with consumers to drive up recycling performance are said to be generating positive feedback.

Speaking at the launch of Coca-Cola’s 2013/14 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability report, Joe Franses, CCE’s director of corporate responsibility and sustainability said: “There is a big opportunity to educate and demonstrate what happens to [recyclable] material once it leaves the house. There is a lack of understanding about what things become.”

He said there was distrust and misconceptions around what happened to material put out for recycling.

“There is a real opportunity to use digital to tell the story and tackle the myths,” he added. “Digital can also help shape habits.”

CCE’s initiative to crowd-source recycling solutions through the platform has generated over 200 specific ideas, which have been shortlisted to 25 for further refinement by the OpenIDEO community.

These will be cut to five, with CCE intending to take forward one or two of the ideas if appropriate. Results of the challenge will be announced in late June.

Ideas put forward through OpenIDEO have included crowd-sourcing for materials for reuse; an augmented reality app that allows you to see what a material can become in a second life when scanned with a mobile device, and using mobiles to convert everyday good actions, such as recycling, into points to reward local communities.

Meanwhile, preliminary results from a trial project involving CCE and Milton Keynes council to improve local recycling through education and community participation have shown an improvement in recycling rates as well as additional benefits such as reduced litter.

The Recycle for your Community scheme involved selected local groups and organisations in Milton Keynes engaging directly with friends, family and neighbours to share information and collect recycling pledges.

The groups were given specialist training to understand what happens to material collected for recycling in their community, to then pass on. Financial incentives of up to £1,500 for organisations were also on offer.

Nick Brown, associate director for recycling at CCE said the project “brought together lots of behaviour change concepts” and the results were exciting. He added: “We want to play a role in driving recycling rates up.”

Achievements highlighted in the CCE and Coca-Cola Great Britain 2013/14 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability report include:

  • Reducing the weight of 500ml PET bottle from 24.7g to 21.7g in 2013, with plans to reduce this to 19.9g in 2014
  • Reducing the weight of large PET bottles by introducing lighter, shorter closures for sparkling brands and lightweighted can ends
  • Plans to reduce large 1.3-litre; 1.75-litre and 2-litre PET packs from 41.7g to 40.3g in 2014 and to develop the next generation of lightweight closures

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