Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE) and ECO Plastics (www.ecoplasticsltd.com) announce the official opening of their groundbreaking joint venture, Continuum Recycling. Completed on time and on budget, the £15 million facility is a first for Great Britain, and brings the recycling process full-circle, with used plastic packaging sorted and reprocessed domestically, before returning to GB shelves as part of another bottle.

Opened by Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Continuum Recycling plant will more than double the amount of bottle-grade recycled plastic (rPET) previously created in Britain, and will allow CCE to meet its commitment to use 25% rPET in all its bottles by the end of 2012. The factory is located at ECO Plastics’ existing site in Lincolnshire, which, with the additional capacity, becomes the world’s largest plastics reprocessing facility.

Continuum Recycling will be used this summer by Coca-Cola as part of an initiative to collect Coke and additional PET soft drinks bottles and turn them back into new bottles on the shelves within six weeks.

Simon Baldry, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Enterprises, says, “Our investment in Continuum Recycling shows that we are serious about setting the industry standard for sustainable packaging. Today’s opening of this £15m state-of-the-art facility will transform recycling in this country and ensure that we achieve our ambition of incorporating 25% recycled PET in our plastic bottles. This is a first for the industry and an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to build a low-carbon, zero waste business here in Great Britain.”

Jonathan Short, Managing Director of ECO Plastics, says, “Today is a great day for ECO Plastics and a great day for UK recycling generally. It demonstrates the huge potential of working with global leaders like Coca-Cola Enterprises, as well as the strategic value of long-term partnerships. Together they have provided us with confidence to invest in the next-generation technology which will be crucial to our industry’s future development.”

Continuum Recycling is the first time that the beverage and recycling industries have formed a long-term strategic partnership and will provide CCE with high-quality rPET for a minimum of ten years. It will save around 33,500 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking over 15,715 cars off the road. 30 new skilled jobs have been created for the local area as a result of the partnership.

Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach says, “With the opening of this facility, the UK is now home to the world’s largest plastics recycling plant, bringing jobs and growth to the rural economy of Lincolnshire.  Coca-Cola Enterprises and Eco-plastics innovation and investment has made this project a reality – exactly what we want to see more of right across the country.

“Recycling is a growing industry, and investment in these types of projects not only makes good business sense – it will help us achieve our ultimate aim of a zero-waste green economy.”