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How we’re increasing plastic recycling capacity through investment and partnerships to help create a circular economy

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03/03/2022

Action on Packaging, Sustainability |

  • New recycling facilities in Australia and Indonesia are the latest in a series of strategic investments across our markets, to expand the supply of recycled PET plastic.  
  • New partnership models are critical to meet growing demand for recycled material, transition away from virgin fossil-based plastic and prevent plastic pollution and litter.  
  • Investing in long-term solutions and new technologies supports our ‘path to zero’ – zero waste and Net Zero GHG emissions.  

The transition to a circular economy for the plastic we use across our own packaging portfolio, and for the beverage industry, demands a boost in recycling capacity in many parts of the world, particularly for PET.  

We are helping drive this transition in our markets, by accelerating our investments to build recycling capacity and scale new technologies in Australia, Indonesia and Europe. Through joint ventures and long-term supplier agreements, we’re increasing onshore recycling capabilities, unlocking new supplies of recycled plastic, and developing industry models and new technologies to drive and meet growing demand for recycled plastic. 

We share the beverage industry’s ambition and commitment to create a closed loop for plastic packaging, one that ensures bottles are recycled back into bottles rather than downcycled. However, recycling capacity has struggled to scale in line with growing demand, as other consumer goods companies look to use more recycled PET content in packaging and compete for limited supply with non-food industries such as fashion and textiles. Therefore, it is imperative that recyclers, waste management companies, packaging manufacturers and others in the value chain collaborate to support the beverage industry in the transition to circularity and substantially increase PET plastic recycling capacity - alongside driving a step-change in collection. And it’s critical that the beverage industry is given fair access to the resin outputs to effectively close the bottle-to-bottle loop, supported by the right legal mechanisms. 

Investing locally to increase recycling capacity  

Our latest venture, a new PET plastic recycling facility in Victoria, Australia, is the result of a cross-industry partnership and will be the largest of its kind in the State, once completed in 2023. It’s the second facility CCEP Australia is building and operating with Cleanaway, Asahi Beverages, and Pact Group – through a joint venture that draws on the expertise of each entity. The first recycling facility, in New South Wales, will be operational from March 2022.  

Each plant will have capacity to process a billion plastic bottles, together producing over 40,000 tonnes of high-quality recycled PET bottles and food packaging each year. The two facilities will be the largest end-to-end rPET plants in Australia.

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As a business, CCEP is committed to working together with industry partners to increase both plastic recycling capacity and provide a model for future which is tailored to the needs of our key markets – including Australia and Indonesia. That means diverting PET bottles from landfill and creating a low carbon, circular economy for plastic PET packaging.

Joe Franses

VP Sustainability, CCEP

In Indonesia, we are taking a lead role in building much-needed recycling capabilities through a collaborative structure that involves industry partners as well as local communities that are part of the informal waste collection network. A new rPET processing facility, being built by a joint venture between Dynapack Asia and CCEP and opening in April 2022 will produce 15,000 tonnes of recycled plastic in the first year, rising to 25,000 tonnes per year by 2023 with plans to expand to 50,000 tonnes in 2024. This and the Australian facility will substantially increase the amount of PET plastic that is recycled and reused locally.

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We are also leveraging partnerships to increase capacity in Europe, where the EU and member countries have set ambitious targets on packaging recyclability and the use of recycled content. In France, CCEP’s long-standing strategic investment with Plastipak sees 1.5 billion bottles a year processed into 48,000 tonnes of food grade recycled plastic at the Infineo recycling centre, which is then used in local soda bottle packaging.  

As outputs of these partnerships, we purchase recycled PET plastic for our portfolios, to meet our own recycled content targets and drive further demand. The Infineo recycling centre, for example, supplies all the recycled plastic used at our five French manufacturing sites serving the French market.

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Investing in long-term supply agreements for PET plastic creates a stable market for the future, driving a more consistent supply and price for the recycled plastic output, and giving investors the confidence to develop more facilities, processes and technologies that increase feedstock availability.

Ralf Peters

VP Procurement, CCEP

We’re also funding next generation recycling technologies to further increase rPET capacity. CCEP Ventures’ investment in CuRe Technology is enabling CuRe to accelerate commercialisation of it’s end-to-end partial depolymerisation recycling process to transform difficult to recycle food grade PET to high quality rPET. Once the technology is commercialised, we will receive the majority of the output from a CuRe-licensed, new-build plant. 

A look to the future 

Closed loop recycling and reuse solutions for plastic are imperative to help keep plastic packaging out of our natural environments for good. In 2021, CCEP laid out its future vision for circularity of plastic packaging. Importantly, this vision isn’t just about our business. It’s about using our resources, scale, and capabilities, and working with industry, to transition away from new, virgin fossil-based plastic and prevent plastic pollution and litter.  

We know we need to do more. We’re continuing to foster cross-industry partnership to develop the necessary recycling capacity and infrastructure. We want to help create demand by supporting the development of the supply chain and increasing availability of, and access to, resin outputs.  We will continue to support and invest in collection, recycling technology innovation and capacity building to help shift entire markets towards a circular economy and eliminate virgin fossil-based PET over time.  

Together, these actions are fundamental to drive forward our ‘path to zero’ – zero waste and Net Zero GHG emissions.