Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), which produces, markets and distributes Coca-Cola products in Western Europe, is today announcing two new initiatives aimed at improving recycling behavior and infrastructure, as part of its journey to becoming a low-carbon, zero-waste business. CCE’s sustainability plan commits it to setting the standard for sustainable packaging, achieving zero waste in its own operations and recycling more packaging than it uses. 

CCE is establishing a new joint venture in France with PET recycler APPE to boost the capacity of its plastics reprocessing facility by 70%. This will recycle 20,000 additional tons of plastic into food-grade packaging per year. CCE is also funding a unique research partnership to explore how consumer behavior change strategies can improve at-home recycling rates in Great Britain and France, ensuring more bottles enter the recycling stream. 

Recycling rates in Great Britain and France remain below most other European countries, despite growing awareness of environmental concerns among consumers. Only approximately half of plastic bottles are collected for recycling in these countries; as a result, manufacturers face restrictions in the supply of locally available recycled PET.   

“Our goal to lead our industry in sustainable packaging and recycling means we must support and promote improvements throughout our value chain,” says John F. Brock, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises. “These initiatives aim to address two of our biggest challenges in this area – improving recycling rates by influencing consumer behavior at home and meeting the increasing demand for recycled PET through investments in strategic infrastructure projects.”

While consumers express strong beliefs related to recycling, at-home recycling rates do not reflect their intent. 79% of consumers polled at the 2012 Olympics Games claimed to always recycle plastic bottles at home, yet national data shows that recycling rates are much lower. 

The research program announced today will seek to define interventions which can overcome this gap between belief and behavior. It will be delivered in partnership with the University of Exeter and will be based upon in-depth, ethnographic research with households in Great Britain and France over a ten-month period. 

Dr. Stewart Barr, associate professor of Geography at the University of Exeter, says, “Our approach will be to work intensively with households to understand how recycling and waste behaviors 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. This project will provide valuable knowledge for a wide range of businesses seeking to influence environmental behaviors, as well as government and NGOs.”   

The scope of the research project will be developed in partnership with CCE’s stakeholders, through a Collaboration Forum being held today in central London for the sustainability community, industry partners, customers and suppliers. A webcast of the Collaboration Forum can be viewed at 

CCE’s investments in strategic infrastructure partnerships seek to ensure a holistic approach to the recycling challenge. CCE will invest €6.5m to establish a new joint venture in France with leading PET recycler APPE. The JV will invest in a new line at APPE’s existing recycling facility in Beaune, France and fund the trial and introduction of state-of-the-art technology, enabling more efficient recycling.

This follows the opening of Continuum Recycling earlier this year in Great Britain, a joint venture between CCE and ECOPlastics which created the largest plastics reprocessing facility in Europe. Continuum Recycling will double the amount of recycled PET available in the British market. It enabled Coca-Cola to recycle all plastic bottles collected at 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues and have them back on shelves as new bottles within six weeks.