Coca-Cola Sets Out What A “Well-Designed” DRS Might Look Like

Coca Cola marks one year since the launch of Coca-Cola European Partners’ (CCEP) and Coca-Cola GB’s (CCGB) Sustainable Packaging Strategy by highlighting some of the latest activity against their sustainability commitments.

The CCGB said one of the key challenges and opportunities for the industry for the near future is helping to create an effective deposit return scheme (DRS) for the UK. With that, it has set out CCEP’s vision for a “well-designed DRS”.

A DRS would see the public pay a deposit when they buy a drink in a single-use container – which they can then get back when the container is returned empty.

Nick Brown, head of sustainability at CCEP, said: “We believe we’re at a crucial moment in time, with a once in a generation opportunity to create real change for packaging recovery systems in GB.

“We have been clear on our support for a well-designed DRS in Great Britain for some time – however with a DRS consultation now open in Scotland and one planned for England later this year, it is crucial that all parties come together to develop this collaboratively.”

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A summit took place in London earlier in July (5 July) between the four UK nations to discuss plans for a UK-wide DRS for drinks containers.

The summit brought the four nations together to coordinate work at a UK level and set principles for the design of potential schemes across the UK. The Ministers agreed to work together on a scheme’s design and operation.

According to a Green Alliance report published last year (August 2017), a deposit return scheme for beverage containers would stop a third of the plastic going into the oceans.

However, in its written evidence to parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee for its inquiry into the effects on the environment of disposable drinks packaging, INCPEN – the Industry Council for research on Packaging & the Environment – said while packaging is the subject of much media attention, it is not the sole cause of marine or land litter; and that all drinks containers are less than 15% of litter by any measure.

The Scottish Grocers Federation and Association of Convenience Stores also argued that introducing a DRS for plastic drinks bottles would be “too burdensome” for customers and small shops.


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  1. I can’t see what all this is about, we , in very recent history, took bottles back to reclaim whatever the deposit was. It was done on everything. What’s the ballyhoo about, go back through your records Coca-Cola, it wont take too long as it’s not that long ago.

  2. To firstly address Philp Jarratt’s comment above – yes, fifty years ago, we used to collect up lemonade bottles to return for the deposit, but that was to augment otherwise meagre pocket money. Can you really imagine today’s young teens taking time out from their mobile phones to go and collect old bottles? The deposit has to be large enough to motivate those who would not normally bother to take bottles back for recycling

    As to the article above, it raises as many questions as it provides provides answers, and I would hope that professional writers could better provide the clarity that we seek.

    “…a DRS for beverage containers would stop a third of the plastic going into the ocean.” Just what plastic are we talking about, Green Alliance: the UK’s beverage container plastic; the UK’s entire plastic waste, the World’s entire plastic waste, or what?

    And INCPEN’s statement that “.. drinks containers are less than 15% of litter by any measure.” Does this include only plastic drinks containers, or what about aluminium, glass and multi-layer tetra packs?

    A DRS should not be looked upon solely as a means of reducing litter but a means of reusing materials and remanufacturing products in a closed loop and avoiding the use of virgin materials.

    • Hi Grant,

      Thanks for your comment. Links have been provded to the orginial stories for both the Green Alliance and INCPEN. These should offer more clarity.

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