Coca Cola European Partners (CCEP; Atlana, GA) has collaborated with its waste management company Viridor (Somerset, UK), plastics recycling company PET UK and packaging producer Avery Dennison (Glendale, CA) on a project to reprocess PET liner waste from the product packaging for its Smartwater bottled water range in the UK.

The process involves the processing of the transparent plastic liner which carries labels during the manufacturing process, before they are applied to the PET plastic bottles.

Under the new recycling scheme, PET UK shreds and extrudes the waste PET liner and then produces a material suitable for making new items such as PET staple fibre, strapping or thermoformable sheets. There will also be significant savings in CO2 emissions—roughly 180-200 tons in 2016.

According to Joe Franses, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners, “This example shows how we can turn the crisis of resources into a business opportunity through close collaboration across the value chain. Businesses which can be truly innovative with the products and services they provide, optimising the resources they use and encouraging consumers to do the same, have the potential to transform our economy.”

The initiative will continue

Xander van der Vlies, Sustainability Director for Avery Dennison Materials Group Europe, said that CCEP wanted to further improve Smartwater production in line with its focus on recycling, sustainability and creating a circular economy.

“Avery Dennison was a natural choice of partner for this project, given our ambitious year-on-year sustainability goals, and the various initiatives we promote around the reduction of waste created in the self-adhesive label value chain. We have close relationships both with PET UK and with CCEP’s waste management company Viridor, and together we have been able to establish a strategy that saves on waste and emissions while at the same time giving CCEP concrete business benefits and cost reductions.”

More than 50 million bottles of Smartwater were produced in 2015. The PET liners used (carrying the self-adhesive labels before dispensing) generated more than 40 tons of waste in that year, costing around $10 600 in disposal/handling costs.

Van der Vlies noted that creating awareness on PET recycling will continue. “Since we launched this initiative with PET UK in 2014, we have signed up many wine, spirits, beer, and beverage brands. Avery Dennison has set an ambitious sustainability goal for 2025 of eliminating 70% of liner waste from the industry value chain.”