Coca-Cola In Favour Of “Well-Designed” Deposit Return Scheme

Drinks manufacturer, Coca-Cola, has said it is in favour of a “well-designed” deposit return scheme (DRS) for Scotland after having previously been opposed to such a move.

At a Holyrood event, the company said it would supports a DRS, with a spokesperson saying, “it’s already clear from our conversations with experts that the time is right to trial new interventions such as a well-designed deposit scheme for drinks containers, starting in Scotland where conversations are underway”, according to Holyrood Magazine.

Last year, Zero Waste Scotland led a consultation on the subject and received 63 responses from stakeholders, including Coca-Cola.

“Our sustainable packaging review is ongoing, but it’s already clear from our conversations with experts that the time is right to trial new interventions such as a well-designed deposit scheme for drinks containers, starting in Scotland where conversations are underway.”

Coca-Cola responded to the consultation, saying: “We agree with Keep Scotland Beautiful who say: “The scale of the investment that would be required to roll out a DRS, and the lack of evidence that it would deliver any significant reduction in litter, means a DRS is not the right solution to the litter problem in Scotland at this time.”

In January, Greenpeace released an investigation into Coca-Cola’s lobbying against the introduction of a DRS in the UK

A leaked internal document from the firm revealed the company prioritised a “fight back” against EU moves to introduce a DRS in Scotland, according to Greenpeace.

At the news Coca-Cola is now in support of a scheme, Greenpeace commented: “Following Greenpeace’s investigation into Coca-Cola’s lobbying against bottle deposit schemes, we welcome this change of heart. Deposit schemes, which have growing support amongst the public, politicians and industry, can play a key role in reducing the amount of plastic which ends up in our oceans and in landfill. But with up to 12m tonnes of plastic entering the sea every year, the bigger challenge which companies need to step up to, especially leading brands like Coke, is drastically reducing their plastic footprint.

“Companies like Coca-Cola must have ambitious plans for 100% recycled content and move away from the era of single-use, disposable, plastic. Only by these companies taking responsibility for the end life of the bottles they sell, will we close the loop on the 16 million plastic bottles which are dumped every day in the UK, and go on to pollute our beaches, land and sea.”

Significant Progress

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said: “We’ve made significant progress to improve the sustainability of our packaging in recent years. For instance, all our bottles and cans are 100% recyclable. We’ve also reduced the amount of material we use, making our packs as light as possible and we are committed to increasing the amount of recycled and renewable material in our plastic bottles from 25% to 40% by 2020.

“We believe that we can go further. That’s why we have embarked on a major review of our sustainable packaging strategy to understand what role we can play in unlocking the full potential of a circular economy in Great Britain.

“Since the start of the year, we have been consulting with expert organisations, NGOs and policymakers. We are focused on our packaging, the role of our brands and the ways we can collaborate with others to improve recycling rates and reduce litter.

“Our sustainable packaging review is ongoing, but it’s already clear from our conversations with experts that the time is right to trial new interventions such as a well-designed deposit scheme for drinks containers, starting in Scotland where conversations are underway.”

According to Coca-Cola, 63% of consumers support the introduction of a deposits system in the UK, and 51% say they would be more likely to recycle as a result.

“From our experience elsewhere in Europe, we know that deposit schemes can work if they are developed as part of an overall strategy on the circular economy, in collaboration with all industry stakeholders. We will support any well-thought-through initiative that has the potential to increase recycling and reduce litter.

“We expect to publish the results of our review and sustainable packaging strategy in the summer and remain fully committed to finding new ways to minimise the materials we use; reduce waste; and work with all stakeholders to improve recycling rates across Great Britain.”

The news comes after Defra recently said the introduction of a DRS in England was “unlikely”.


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  1. This is only Coca Cola trying to ingratiate themselves with the SNP Scottish Government who have misled themselves to believe that they’ll somehow manage to keep Scotland in the EU after Brexit. This nonsense fires up SNP supporters but has no chance of ever happening.
    In reality, CIWM Journal readers would have seen that in this month’s issue, drinks and beverage containers have actually reduced by over 30% (and that’s without a DRS scheme) when Keep Scotland Beautiful surveyed specified areas before and after the 5p charge on carrier bags was introduced in Scotland. And of course (as most Scottish waste managers prophesied) there are now more plastic carriers in the litter stream that before the 5p charge was introduced.
    All a load of PR bunkum.

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